The Risk of Sitting Too Long

Get up an MOVE!!! Sitting too much has been linked to an increased risk of heart failure.  A recent study shows a link between what is being referred to as “sitting disease” and heart failure.  The study determined that the risk of heart failure doubled for men who sat for five hours each day exclusive of their working hours.  The Mayo Clinic reports that the adverse effects of sitting too long go far beyond just an increased risk of heart disease.  Sitting too long has been associated with obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels and excess fat around the waist.


Sitting too long is not just associated with leisure activity.  Sitting at work or behind the wheel of a car for too long can increase the risk of health hazards.  Unfortunately, spending a few hours in the gym or participating in a sporting activity is not sufficient to counteract the detrimental effects of sitting too long.  In order to decrease your risk of developing heart disease and other illnesses associated with sitting disease, you should avoid sitting for long periods of time without standing up and moving around.  The muscle activity required to stand and move about assists with the breakdown of fats and sugars, a process that stops when you sit.


Therefore, to combat sitting disease you should follow these simple steps.

  • When you take calls at work, stand up to talk on the telephone for every other call (or less often if you receive multiple telephone calls per hour).
  • When getting up to get a drink or go to the bathroom, walk around the office once or twice.
  • Walk to a co-worker’s desk rather than emailing or calling him or her.
  • Take the stairs whenever possible.
  • Take a walk with co-workers after lunch.
  • Go for a family walk after dinner.
  • Replace Sunday naps with Sunday walks or other outdoor activities.
  • When watching television, stand up and walk around during the commercials.
  • When you are reading a book, stand up, walk around or do a quick household chore every 10 to 15 pages.
  • Use breaks to do some stretching activities at your desk.
  • Sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair so that you force your core muscles to work even though you are sitting.


Simple standing periodically during the day will reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.  Our sedentary lifestyle puts us at risk for health risks.  To combat the effects of sitting too long, exercise more and break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.