Sitting Disease: Risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle
Are you spending too much of your day sitting?

Sitting Disease is a term we are hearing and seeing more and more these days. Sitting disease refers to the ill effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle.

In other words, spending too much of our time sitting.

It is not a “new phenomena” and the concerns about lifestyle related conditions caused by sitting too much have been around for many years.

Evidence is building around just how much of an impact this is having on our health.

Why has this become a problem?

The human body is designed for movement.

Since the days of Early Man we have been very active.

The introduction of TV’s, cars, machines  and computers has chipped away at the amount of time we spend being physical active.

As a result we are becoming far more sedentary.

Risks of sitting too much
Sit Less Move More:

Why should we be worried?

What are the ill effects of a sedentary lifestyle?

There are lots of risks associated with spending too much of our time sitting.

Even those of use who regularly meet the recommended levels of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week are at risk of these ill effects if we don’t ensure we are standing up and moving on a regular basis.

In other words, it’s not enough to go out for a 30 minute run every morning but then spend 8 hours sitting at your desk.

Small, regular bursts of movement are needed to reduce your risk of developing many chronic health problems.

What does the World Health Organisation Say?


In addition, the same study estimates that 1.4 billion adults are putting themselves at risk of chronic disease such as diabetes  because of their low levels of physical activity.

Interestingly, wealthy countries such as the U.S. and the U.K are particularly exercise deficient according to the WHO.

And, figures are on the rise.

Are there any other studies to back this?

A further study by the Mayo Clinic demonstrated an association between sedentary lifestyle and an increase risk of:

*Type 2 Diabetes

*heart disease

*breast and colon cancer

Similarly, an article posted by John Hopkins Medical also showed:

*increased rates of anxiety and depression.

*a decrease in skeletal muscle mass

*an association with high blood pressure and cholesterol levels in those who were inactive.

So, what can we do to reduce our risk of Sitting Disease?

Low intensity “non exercise” activities such as standing or walking are far more important to our health than most people realise.

These types of activities play an important role in many of our body systems including controlling our blood sugar.

They also make up the bulk of our day to day energy expenditure.

We burn far more calories walking and standing than we do running or playing sports.

Risks of sitting disease by a year of small changes
Risks of Sitting Disease according to the World Health Organisation copyright A Year of Small Changes

So, what SMALL CHANGES can you make day to day?

  • Simple things like alternating between sitting and standing every 30 minutes (Sit-stand-switch) I can make a big difference.
  • Moving 3-5 minutes of every hour throughout the day would be a great way to start.
  • Work places could adopt the use of ‘standing or variable height desks’ where appropriate to allow less time in the seated position.
  • Try making phone calls from standing position or walking round the office where possible.
  • Take the stairs if you can or walk to meetings rather than drive.
  • Another idea, start parking further away from the shops or school
  • Likewise, try to walk to places in the local area where possible.
  • At work, using the printer that’s furthest away could help increase your activity for the day.

What else have I tried?

I have also tried walking to speak to colleagues in their offices rather than messaging, e mailing or phoning them.

Not only have a found a big increase in my step count but I’ve really enjoyed speaking to people face to face rather by e mail.

In addition, it’s been a great way to improve the general atmosphere in the work place too.

So, why not have a think about how you could increase your daily activity levels? I guarantee you will not only improve your health but you will feel better too.


1.World Health Organisation’s Global Strategy on Diet, Physical activity and Health.

For more info on the benefits of moving more check out

For more info on the benefits of moving more check out

    1 Response to "Sitting Disease"

    • Cara

      I’m starting with standing phone calls and using the stairs today!

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