“Sitting Is Killing You”

credit: Instagram @yuki_eye

People who sit for most of their day are 54% more likely to die of a heart attack.

Did that get your attention? We hope so (and, no, we didn’t make that up).

We’ve talked about the benefits of getting off your hind quarters and spending more of your day on your feet.

To put things into perspective, here’s what sitting physically does to your body:

  1. As soon as you sit the electrical activity in the leg muscles shut off, calorie burning slows to a sloth-like 1 per minute, and enzymes that help break down fat drop by 90%.
  2. After 2 hours of reclining in your favorite chair, the good cholesterol in your body drops about 20%.
  3. After 24 hours insulin effectiveness drops 24% and risk of diabetes rises.

The people over at MedicalBillingandCoding.org captured this information and some of the more long-term problems with sitting in an interesting infographic. But before you see it, here are some key points:

  • We sit now more than ever before, at a whopping 9.3 hours a day. We spend more time sitting, on average, than we do standing (7.7 hours a day).
  • Sitting for more than 6 hours a day will give you a 40% greater chance of dying within the next 15 years than if you sit for less than 3. This is true regardless of exercise.
  • On average, obese people sit for 2.5 hours per day more than thin people.
  • People with sitting jobs have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease as people with standing jobs.
  • Walking burns 3-5 times the calories than sitting does.
  • Sitting at a 135 degree angle puts less strain on your back than leaning forward or sitting up straight.

Be sure to check out tips on how to cut down standing in your work-life after the infographic:

credit: Ben Rubin

Now that we know sitting can kill you (yikes!), what to do about it? Ben Rubin, the founding CTO of Zeo, recently wrote about how he eliminates sitting in the workplace to increase his overall health and productivity, and how you can, too!

Main take-aways:

  • If you just HAVE to sit, sit like a yogi or on a ball chair.
  • Getting used to a standing desk takes time! Start off standing a few hours a day and then increase over time.
  • See this useful guide on standing desks.
  • Once you have standing down, why not increase the activity?  Some things to consider: balance boards, treadmill desks,  weighted vests, and shake machines.

Ben also shares useful advice on how to up productivity in general. Be sure to check it out!

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6 Responses to “Sitting Is Killing You”

  1. Jeff from Anthro here (Our Standing Desks were actually featured in the ‘Wired’ article you mentioned).

    One of the things that we’ve noticed with our research on workplace ergonomics is the importance of variety. A standing desk is great, but it can be very unhealthy to stand all day long. (It can be just as bad as sitting all day). The most healthy option is adjusting between standing and sitting. Many people in our office will stand in the morning when they have the most energy, while sitting in the afternoon. Others will trade off standing for a few hours, then sitting for a few, then back to standing. Overall, it is the variety that keeps the blood flowing.

    • Thanks Jeff for your comment! We do the same at WellnessFX – even incorporating balance boards and exercise balls. We should compare notes one day.

    • As a physiotherapist I regularly tell people that sitting all day can be harder on your body than a contact sport, but the reality is that most people have to do it. I agree that switching it up throughout the day is the best option. If you have the luxury of a standing and sitting desk then great, but if you don’t the best thing you can do is get a chair that has lots of adjustable parts to fit it to you. Only sit on a ball if you are up and down every 10-15 minutes not if you plan on working their for hours at a time. I also agree that standing all day can be just as bad as sitting all day….maybe not for the physiological factors that you are talking about but definitely on people’s bodies’ physically. Most people just don’t stand or sit very well….the picture you have above of sitting at 135 degree hip angle is not a good idea at all….it will feel more comfortable but will wreck your neck and back in the long run. Have a look at “How to Sit” and How to Stand articles on my blog at WhyThingsHurt.com

  2. voiceofreason says:

    If obese people tend to sit, then it follows naturally that cardiovascular deaths are higher in the sitting population, since obesity has been causally linked to heart disease. Missing this most basic fact raises questions about what other causation/correlation fallacies have been committed… this isn’t science, it’s drawing lines between random dots.

  3. Pingback: Outlaw Way 121112 (Back in Action) | Grizzly Strong

  4. neilsethi says:

    Reblogged this on neilsethi's Blog and commented:

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