The Frequency

Sitting All Day Is As Bad As Smoking

Sitting All Day Is As Bad As Smoking

Smoking is widely accepted as an “unhealthy habit,” but sitting is proving to be just as unhealthy. Studies are finding that the amount of time we spend seated throughout the day is extremely unhealthy for our bodies and minds. Here’s why sitting at your desk from 9-5 is very unhealthy, as well as some alternate ideas for approaching your day in a more health conscious manner.

Negative Effects Of Sitting

We’ve all heard it before: sitting all day in an office isn’t good for you. But sitting at a desk 9-5 does more than increase your chance of gaining a few pounds, it has serious health implications.

“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death,” Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative said in an interview the Los Angeles Times.  

The American Heart Association has compiled research that presents the same conclusion. According to a recent study, no amount of physical activity outside of sitting for hours each day is enough to counteract the detrimental effects that have already taken place.

With the average American sitting 6-8 hours a day, there is an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and possibly cancer and/or anxiety.

Positive Alternatives

Just because sitting all day isn’t good for you, doesn’t mean you need to ditch your 9-5 permanently. Here are some positive alternatives to sitting that are more likely to promote your overall health and well-being.

Standing Desk

Having a standing desk, or even one that is adjustable, can make a significant impact on your health. Standing instead of sitting is shown to help decrease weight gain, lower blood sugar levels, lower your risk of heart disease, reduce back pain, and even improve mood and energy levels.

Exercise Ball

Having an exercise ball instead of a chair doesn’t necessarily mitigate the negative effects of sitting, but it can bring more positives than sitting at a desk chair. Having a stabilizer ball forces your body to balance while sitting, which not only tends to increase posture (lessening back and neck pain), but works on core muscles as well.

Short Walks

Set a timer on your phone! Taking short, active breaks throughout your day is an efficient way to reduce periods of being seated. This kind of short activity is good for your blood flow, cardiovascular health, and energy levels.  It can also help you take a short mental break, which can jumpstart productivity and positive thinking.

Active Commute

An added amount of time to your work day is in your commute. Many of us spend an extended amount of time in the car on the way to and from work. This expands the negative health impacts that sitting brings. One way to lessen this is to physically commute to work if possible. That extra time walking, biking or riding a scooter to work gets you off of your seat. This may mitigate some of the negative impacts of sitting. 

No human can function to their full potential unless they are investing in their physical well-being. Advocate for yourself or for your employees with these ideas for implementing a better desk space. If you have ideas about how to avoid sitting all day at work, share them with us and we will post them on our blog. When humans thrive, companies prosper. Learn more at

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