The Effects of Sitting Too Much Are Truly Terrible

December 22, 2016

3:30 pm

With technology at our beckon call and chairs becoming more comfortable than ever, the case for standing up on a regular basis gets weaker and weaker every year. From artificially intelligent virtual assistants to massaging recliners made out of cashmere, it’s wonder why the second half a Wall-E hasn’t already come to fruition. The only thing keeping humanity on its feet is science; and unfortunately, the science is pretty damming.

According to a study out of the University Health Network in Toronto, people sit way too much. Whether it’s at work performing for your boss or at home relaxing with a good book, humanity has taken the recumbent lifestyle too heart at a level that is dangerous to our health.

“More than one-half of an average person’s day is spent being sedentary — sitting, watching television or working at a computer,” said Dr. David Alter, senior scientist for the study at the University Health Network in Toronto, in a statement. “Our study finds that despite the health-enhancing benefits of physical activity, this alone may not be enough to reduce the risk for disease.”

That’s right, half of your day is spent sitting down. And to make matters worse, exercising isn’t helping you combat the well-known side effects of this kind of laid-back life. According to the conglomeration of several studies, people who sit for long periods of time are 24 percent more likely to die from health problems later on in life. So, how much sitting is too much?

“If you sit more than 8 hours [a day], that’s probably linked to a lot of the negative health effects,” said Aviroop Biswas, a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto and the study’s lead researcher.

Whether it’s cardiovascular problems, cancer, or diabetes, sitting for too long is riskier than sticking your head in the microwave and setting it to the popcorn setting. And the data backs them up. This was one of the largest studies of the effects of sitting too long and it brought back the most troubling results. Fortunately, there is something you can do about it.

“Moments when you’re sitting, think of ways to stand,” said Biswas to Live Science. “Move as much as you can when you’re not exercising.”

Yes, sitting is great. But as science has shown, the effects of doing it for too long are just not worth the comfort and the laziness that comes with it. Whether you need to set an alarm to get up and move or to actually listen to Netflix when it asks if you’re still watching, make an effort to stand up more. It could be the difference between life and death.

Photo: Flickr / Craig Sunter

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Conor is a writer, comedian and world-renowned sweetheart. As the Assistant Editor and Writer at Tech.Co, he’s written about everything from Kickstarter campaigns and budding startups to tech titans and innovative technologies. His background in stand-up comedy made him the perfect person to host Startup Night at SXSW and the Funding Q&A at Innovate! and Celebrate, posing questions to notable tech minds from around the world. In his spare time, he thinks about how to properly pronounce the word "colloquially." Conor is the Assistant Editor and Writer at Tech.Co. You can email him at

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