The Sad Truth about Sitting


I’m an active person.  I’d rather be doing something than just lying around.  Even so, there are some days that after the kids are tucked in bed I want to do nothing except sit on the couch.

Can I get an AMEN?

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of new research out regarding just how bad sitting is for our health.  This research focuses not just on people who have sedentary lifestyles but also on people who exercise regularly and still sit for 6+ hours a day.  Once you start adding up your day, that’s very likely most of us reading this blog post (myself included).

The January 2013 issue of IDEA Fitness Journal presented the risks of sitting in a shocking infographic.  Check out some of these stats:

  • Every hour you sit in front of the TV, your life expectancy is slashed by 22 minutes.
  • Sitting for extended periods raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and premature death– even for people who meet daily physical activity recommendations.  (bolding mine)
  • Prolonged sitting is a risk factor for all-cause mortality, independent of physical activity.

That’s some scary stuff!

I started thinking about ways to sit less:

  • Type blog posts while my computer is on the kitchen counter, rather than sitting at my kitchen table.  (Wait, you thought I was in a luxe high-rise all this time?!?)
  • Get back in the habit of having walk-and-talk meetings with business partners rather than coffee meet ups.
  • Pace while I talk on the phone.
  • Set my phone alarm to beep every 20 minutes, if only so I get up and stretch for a minute or two.
  • Remind participants in Balance Virtual Bootcamp that they can do their workouts in front of the TV, if that will keep them from sitting through their favorite show.
  • Encourage my kids to get up and wiggle in the middle of homework time.
  • Use the furniture as a jungle gym, as my daughter demonstrates in the photo.  (Hrmmmmm, I seem to be telling the children *not* to do this an awful lot.)

I know there are lots of other, more permanent options to decrease the amount of sitting in your day.  Do any of you use a stand-up desk?  A treadmill desk?

Both of those options intrigued me before I saw the IDEA infographic.  Now I’m really intrigued.  I’d love to hear your feedback if you’re a regular stand-up worker.


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