Risks of Prolonged Sitting

Posted by Melissa Hall in #YHSafetyTips, Jan 09, 2019

If you work in an office, chances are you spend the majority of your day sitting at a desk. According to JustStand.org, the average American is seated for approximately 12 hours per day!

Sitting for extended periods of time may lead to a variety of health issues, including decreased mental health, increased risk of becoming disabled, higher risk of heart disease, obesity, and an increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon, endometrial, and lung cancers.

A study published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine found that older women and those who sit for more than 11 hours a day were at the greatest risk for developing illnesses related to excessive sitting.

Don’t think you sit for long periods of time each day? Think about your average day. If you spend 8 hours sitting a work, plus 1 hour commuting, and 2 hours on the couch watching TV at night, you are seated for 11 hours a day, or 55 hours per the average 5 day work week. Multiply this by 52 weeks per year, and you are sitting for 2,860 hours or over 119 days per year!

To reduce the risk of developing health issues related to excessive sitting, the CDC recommends both reducing sitting time and increasing your physical activity.

This can be achieved by breaking up long periods of sitting by taking regular 5 minute standing breaks every 30 minutes to every hour or by investing in a sit/stand desk that allows you to stand and work at your desk and computer. There are also stretches that you can do while seated at your desk to add movement to your daily routine.


You can also counteract long periods of sitting by exercising during your non-working hours. The CDC recommends that adults should participate in 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 to 100 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity every week. It is also recommended that adults do muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups at least 2 days a week.

Our bodies are designed to move and be active, so take time to stand and move every day!

Follow our #YHSafetyTips blog for weekly updates! If you haven’t read last week’s blog on the top 10 OSHA violations of 2018 you can find it here.

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