Are You Sitting Too Much?

By Sharon Truelove

The American Cancer Society has done studies on the death rates of people “who during 1993 to 2006, and found that women who sat down for at least 6 hours a day were 37 percent more likely to die when compared to
women who sat for 3 hours a day during the time period studied”. Translation, sitting for prolonged periods, is bad for your health.


Dr. Alpa Patel, cited several factors, “Prolonged time spent sitting, independent of physical activity, has been shown to have important metabolic consequences, and may influence things like triglycerides, high density lipoprotein, cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, resting blood pressure, and leptin, which are biomarkers of obesity and cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.” Regulatory genes for glucose/fat amounts start shutting down after just four hours of setting. Also, vital enzymes in the bloodstream, reducing the body’s natural ability to process fat shut off.

What are some ways that we can change our “setting” lifestyle?

A standing desk instead of a setting desk, can not only keep us from setting so much, but according to some, it can improve productivity and concentration by increasing blood flow to your brain. It also burns more calories and helps posture.


If you must set for long periods, try exercising throughout the day versus at one stretch. Interrupt the setting time more. Our bodies needs to change positions throughout the day and move about in order to work efficiently. This will increase concentration and improve focus, decrease fatigue (mental and physical), and these breaks will allow your muscles to relax. Spread out long projects into shorter work periods, break it up with stretch breaks when possible.

I.  Some very simple stretches that you can do to get out of your chair are:

1.  Lower Back: stand and place your hands on your hips, and bend back gently.

2.  Shoulders: stretch your arms out and down – behind your back. You should feel the stretch in your chest and upper back. Gently roll your shoulders forward and then reverse directions.

3.  Head / Shoulders: Lean your head gently to one shoulder, and then the other shoulder – slowly. Slowly roll your head all the way around in one direction and then the other. The key is going slowly.


II.  Move at least once an hour:

1.  Do some deep breathing (this will get more oxygen into the cells).

2.  Getting out of that chair and stretching lessens repetitive stress syndrome.

3.  Getting up and away from your desk will also reduce eye strain by looking at something else besides a computer screen.

4.  Stand up while talking on the phone or sit and squeeze a ball between your legs.

5.  Make sure you lunch away from your desk.

6.  Keep a resistance band at your desk.

7.  Use a big training ball to set on at your desk.


Calculate how much time do you spend setting during the day?

Pick at least two ways could you change that amount.  Let us know your answers! 

Below are some helpful site and reference.


33 thoughts on “Are You Sitting Too Much?”

  1. I try to sit as little as possible , one good thing about being a massage therapist is that i feel i get just the right balance between sitting and standing. And the Yoga that i practice is quite helpful to keep the limbs active.

  2. That’s it I’m never setting down again. Just kiding! That sure is alot of food for thought. If you think about it, our life style has changed over the years.It is good to know there are things we can do to help ourselves.

  3. We all sit to much, especially when we have our new packets. I know I spend several hours working on mine. Thanks for some tips to keep me moving.

  4. This is a vital lesson to all. I incorporate this in massage in teaching clients the deep breathing and stretching and it seems as though it is a forgotten necessity to some. They look at me like I have taught them something from a book. I cannot phathom sitting still that long, my back stiffens up and it causes spasms to return in problem areas.


  5. Great information. This would apply to most everyone I know. Not only the work force but students as well.

  6. I work construction so I am constantly moving. I do yoga to keep my body flexible and reduce pain throughout my body. Would love to know what it’s like to sit down once in awhile.

  7. I can honestly say i am up way more than I am down. The only time I really sit is dring class or on my drive to class. So I probably only sit 6 hours out of 12-14 hr day. When I am home I am always doing something like cleaning or working with my kids at sports, I work on my feet when I am home. In the past I used to sit at my old jobs. I would take stairs instad of elevators, walk instead of drive from one building to the next and worked out everyday.

  8. I spend around seven hours a day totally sitting, at least four of them are on the computer. I have always tried to stop and take a break at least every two hours of sitting at the computer, but this makes it even easier to do it. I have always tried to do some of the small task around the house as a break time from the screen, but this plays into the break even better and it still doesn’t totally throw me off what is at hand, homework. All of the small exercises we have learned from the blog plays a big part of this, keep your body healthy and happy.

  9. I have a lot of clients who have desk job, they will love this. Do you think the type of chair they sit in plays an important roll also, I do. Thanks for this week I was looking for something like this.

  10. The only time I’m sitting a lot now, is in class. These movements will help if I get restless. I only wish I had a list of these movements by my desk at my old job. I was constantly at my desk. Thanks.

  11. I love the blogs like this, I am going to print this for my clients at my shop and I honestly feel like I am on the move more than I am sitting, thanks to being a hairdresser, one thing I could probably figure out is how to do a pedicure on a big training ball, now that would be impressive! lol I think my adhd is kicking in and I am encouraged to see if I can make this work, I will let you know how that goes. Also I really like the standing desk idea and am actually in the works of changing my desk into a glass display case to eliminate clutter at the office and it will also get rid of the sitting there too.

  12. Great tips to help. I set aroud 8 hours a day. Maybe I can change things and make those hours go down. Thanks for the information.

  13. I know from experience that too much sitting is back on my lower back and not good for my digestive system. As you sit your weight tends to put pressure on your spine,which can cause future problems with your back. Also, with your digestive system as you sit the waste tends to sit longer than it needs rather than when you are moving around, when your waste in your colon can be pushed around more. Thats why its a good idea for our youth today to get up and out to play more rather than sit and watch tv or games.

  14. I sit in the morning and after school I stand for at least 6 hours at work. These are simple and easy tips that anyone can do to keep the blood flowing and your muscles moving no matter where you are. I will recommend these exercises to my family who sit all day at the computer.

  15. I have a training exercise ball and I like sitting on mine while I’m working on homework, I’ve even tried sitting on it while I’m sewing! (It doesn’t work out so well) I have to make myself get up and stretch my shoulders and back after I’ve been sewing for awhile, thanks for the tips! They have helped me a lot!

  16. Why do you write things like this? Now I know I spend at least 12 hours a day in a chair. Yuck! Im going to buy one of those giant round balls to sit on instead of my office chair.

  17. 12 hours a day sitting. Too much. Im taking more breaks and going to buy a giant bouncy ball to sit on instead of my office chair

  18. Thank you for this. I have several friends that I have been telling them all along to get up!!! Fortunately I practice yoga and walk twice a day, so I’m adding on the life years!!!! I am going to print this one out and pass it out!

  19. Ok so caculating our time spent sitting is not very good to me. I actually did this and let me tell you sitting in the car, class, getting my daughters ready for school, doing homework, eating etc its a lot. I believe most of my day is sitting. Well, I have decided to add some workout in between all that sitting and keep me off my buttocks!

  20. I hate just sitting around. It is too boring to me. There is always something to do. Most of my down time “sitting, was only after the injury to my lower back, and I HAD to “rest”, ha. I still exercise, even if I’m sitting, via the shake weight, or anything that isn’t to difficult to do while sitting. I love stretching, so when I get up I stretch a lot and then when I walk around I add lunges, push-ups, and other little exercises throughout the day. When at school, take the stairs! Nothing like racing up and down three flights of stairs for a great short cardio!

  21. Thanks for the helpful tips. I’ve personally have noticed a change from being on my feet all the time, waitressing-to sitting a lot, being a student and practicing Esthetician. My “behind” actually aches sometimes and the lack of use of muscle has caused me to lose tone. I’ll be keeping those tips in mind!

  22. Sitting…I hate sitting! I dont like sitting in a class for hours, because it makes me side tracked, and I’ll get sleepy. I like to move around. when I’m sitting, I am never sitting completely still, I am always moving my hands, legs, fingers…SOMETHING. Especially in the car. I do work out a lot, because I am the type of person that would rather walk 5 miles to the store, than to drive a car. I walk everywhere, and you will never catch me at my house, not doing something.

  23. I feel like I spent alot of time standing at work, but once you add up the time I sit at work, school and driving in the car, I really dont stand much. I will be adding some of this to my daily routine in the office to be on my feet more.

  24. I hate sitting down, school and in the office it just gets old and i know it also effects my posture. im going to try some of these! and also i think we should get the exercise balls instead of chairs in class 😛 just a thought

  25. I love these blog. I forwarded this blog to a few friends. I fortunately have never had a job where I get to sit. I was in the restaurant business for ten years, then a medical assistant, and now I’m going to be a massage therapist. I wounder what it would be like to have a sit down job.

  26. So before I came back to school my last job I had I was sitting all the time & I hated it seems like my buttocks & hips had more problems than anywhere aelse on my body so my solution was to take the stairs more (even when your wearing high heels makes your calves more stronger) I would walk around the building just to move around more of course it also helps when your chasing a 5 & 3 yr. olds too (haha). But if my clients come in & say that they do more sitting than staying I would highly recommend to my clients but I would also sork more on their glutes & hip areas.

  27. green balancing ball = $ 9.09 Target, cost of education $$$$, increasing life span bc of massage blog = priceless! thanks again! I’ll let cha know how my first pedicure goes!