The Health Hazards of Too Much Sitting

Posted on August 24th, 2015 by Orthopaedic Specialty Group

Unfortunately for most of us, the majority of our day involves our butts being firmly planted to our seats. When you drive – you sit. When you watch TV – you sit. When you have a desk job – you sit for eight hours straight. You would never guess it, but recent studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time can lead to some serious health effects. In fact, it has lead to the creation of the phrase, “sitting is the new smoking”.

Here are some of the ways that too much sitting can negatively impact our health:

Heart Disease

Prolonged sitting can slow our blood flow and metabolism, which can make you almost twice as likely to develop conditions such as high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, diabetes, and even certain types of cancers such as breast, lung, and colon.

Muscle Degeneration

When you are standing or sitting up straight, the muscles in your body are actively engaged in order to keep you upright. However, when you are slouched in the chair, these muscles go unused. Your core is rarely used, causing a weak back and mushy abs. Your hip flexors tighten up and become short, limiting hip strength and mobility. A sedentary lifestyle can also cause the muscles in your legs to weaken and even your bones to lose density.

Spinal Issues

Our back and neck suffer the brunt of the damage caused by sitting, especially if we sit with poor posture. People who sit more are at a greater risk for herniated disks, lower back pain, and permanent muscular imbalances in the neck and shoulders.

Mental Cloudiness

Sitting too much can effect you mentally, too. Basic movements such as walking cause your body to pump more blood and oxygen to your brain, triggering it to release chemicals that help it function. Sitting in a chair prevents this, and can lead to loss of concentration, decreased energy, and even depression.


What can you do to combat these effects? Just going to the gym may not be enough, so break up the long periods of sitting during your work day by trying some of the following:

  • Every hour, stand up and walk around the office for a few minutes.

  • Walk down the hall and talk to a co-worker instead of sending an email.

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible.

  • Use an exercise ball as your chair – this will help engage your abs and lower back.

  • Use a standing workstation.

  • Try these exercises at your desk – deskercise!

Has a lifetime of sitting taken its toll on your body? If you are experiencing daily pains in your back, neck, hips, or legs, the orthopedic experts at OSG can work with you until you are healthy! Work with Connecticut’s leading health experts to determine which treatment solution is right for you: options may include physical therapy, injections, or surgery. Schedule a consultation with one of our licensed professionals by calling (203) 337-2600.