Dangers of Sitting Too Long

— Written By and last updated by Nicole Vernon
en Español

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How many hours a day are you spending sitting down? Does your job require you to be behind a desk sitting for many hours? Do you spend many hours sitting in front of your computer or watching television? If so, you could be at higher risk of developing many health issues if you are not taking frequent breaks.

Sitting for many hours can have a negative effect on our heart, cardiovascular system, bone strength and bowels. It can also cause us to have weaker leg muscles, stiff neck and shoulders, as well as back pain.

Recent studies have shown that it is very beneficial to take frequent breaks to stand and walk around during the day. It is difficult to undo the negative effects of sitting for eight or more hours a day even if we exercise a couple time a week.

What can we do to move more? The following are some simple ideas that might work for you:

  • If possible, walk or ride a bike to work or at other times during the day.
  • If you drive to work, park further away from where you are going.
  • Always use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Instead of calling or emailing co-workers, walk to their office.
  • Stand up or walk around the office or home when you are on the phone.
  • Use a stand up desk or set your laptop on a counter in order to stand up a while.
  • Avoid taking your lunch break sitting at your desk. Use some of the time to take a short walk.
  • When watching TV, stand up and stretch during the commercials.
  • Instead of sitting down to read, you could listen to a recording while doing some type of physical activity.
  • Set your waste basket away from your desk so you have to get up and move whenever you have to throw something away.

Remember, when we take mini breaks throughout the day and stand up, walk around or stretch, we will give our body and health a well-deserved boost.