Is Sitting Long Periods Bad For You? How and what can you do about it?

Desk treadmillRecently, there has been a cascade of study results demonstrating the negative effects of sitting for long periods on our health. It does not seem to matter whether it is sitting in front of a TV screen, computer monitor, or ice cream stand…it's the lack of motion that seems to be the problem.

Here is an excerpt from the article entitled "Sitting can be more dangerous than smoking, study shows":

Going to work could be more harmful than smoking, a new study shows.

That is if your job involves sitting around for long periods of time.

Research carried out by the American College of Cardiology shows that prolonged sitting is linked to increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer and even early death and could be just as dangerous, if not more so, than smoking.

Cardiologist Dr David Coven said: Smoking certainly is a major cardiovascular risk factor and sitting can be equivalent in many cases.

The fact of being sedentary causes factors to happen in the body that are very detrimental.'

He told CBS that when you sit for long periods of time your body goes into storage mode and stops working as effectively as it should.

And just like smoking, the more you do it, the greater the likelihood of developing one or more of the diseases.

Paul Golin told CBS he was sitting up to eight hours a day until he had a health scare which he believes was largely brought on by sitting down all day (full story here).

My Take: I know I am guilty…as are most of our San Francisco Chiropractic patientsand most of the people reading this. Everyone sits too much it seems. So what is the solution? Well…you can rig up a treadmill to your desk like the guy in the article above or gal in the feature photo. Or…you can just do a lot of walking and moving around while you work and make sure you get a lot of exercise…at least 30 minutes per day. Take breaks and take a walk…walk at lunch…take the stairs, etc.

Unfortunately, sitting all day and then just going and working out a few days a week is not good enough according to some (see Exercise Won't Help Serious Couch Potatoes).

It seems we need to keep moving throughout the day, which means taking the stairs, taking breaks and walking around…moving around a lot. Because like the old saying goes…Life Is Motion.

Dr. Eben Davis is a chiropractor in San Francisco, as well as an ergonomic expert and consultant.


Eben Davis

I am a Chiropractor in the San Francisco Financial District specializing in chronic neck, arm and hand pain. I also treat herniated discs using spinal decompression, whiplash, sports injuries, headaches, and Fibromyalgia. My clinic is certified in the use of Deep Tissue Laser Therapy with the LiteCure LCT-1000 for conditions such as shoulder pain, TMJ and Plantar Fasciitis. I have been in practice for over 20 years.

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4 thoughts on “Is Sitting Long Periods Bad For You? How and what can you do about it?

  1. Dr. Michael Pound

    Thanks for this informative article. Several of our patients develop serious conditions from sitting to long, and I will certainly share this article with them.

  2. maria

    Great information. It is easy to forget that we are on this earth to enjoy life. Finding a balance between work and enjoying life can be challenging.
    But the bottom line is we need to move and breath. So many hours go by at work and before we realize it we have sat all day with maybe one trip to the bathroom, this is not a balance.
    I suggest to my patients set your watch as a reminder to get up and move it. Breath, smile think about anything except work.
    Ten minutes walking briskly goes a long way.

  3. Annie

    Thanks for the article! I spend most of my day sitting, if not lying down, and I barely take long walks. But now that I am informed, I will start doing things differently.


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