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Sitting: Hazardous To Your Health

hazards of sittingStudies show that sitting for more than 95% of the time at work increases the risk for physical injury and diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cancer and early death, even for people who exercise daily. However, did you know Americans now sit more than they sleep, spending an average of 10 hours a day in a car, at work and in front of a television? Almost three-quarters are sedentary, and more than four in 10 get no leisure-time physical activity at all!

Average activity during waking hours:

  • Sedentary: 9 hours 20 minutes a day
  • Low intensity physical activity: 6 hours 30 minutes a day
  • Moderate to vigorous physical activity: 45 minutes per day

How sitting harms the body:

  • As soon as you sit: Electrical activity in the leg muscles shuts off, calorie burning drops to 1 per minute, and enzymes that help break down fat drop by 90%!
  • After 2 hours: Good cholesterol drops by 20%

Over time:

  • Holding the muscles in the torso, neck, and shoulders in a somewhat fixed position squeezes blood vessel, reducing blood flow and causing fatigue.
  • Many people experience decreased fitness, lung and heart efficiency and a higher risk for injury and disease. Especially those who are otherwise inactive.
  • Insulin effectiveness drops and risk of diabetes rises. High amounts of stress are placed on the spine, specifically the lower back and neck.
  • Blood often pools in the lower legs, which can cause numbness and varicose veins.

What’s Next? Get up and Move!

  • The recommended 30 minutes of activity per day is not enough; interrupt sitting whenever you can:
    • Walk around the office every 30 minutes to stretch
    • Visit the water cooler every 30 minutes
    • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
    • Take a bathroom break
    • Walk to a co-worker, instead of emailing them
    • Stand at your desk

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