Sitting Down – How Much Is Too Much Everyday?

You might remember those early health warnings around coffee? Yes, it’s bad for you. Just this year though it was reported to be healthy in moderation, translates to 3 cups a day.

Then the call from a loved food sounded, “eggs are bad your health.” Yes, that cholesterol in them will kill us because of contributing to higher cholesterol in our bodies. Now eggs are okay, in moderation. Turns out the cholesterol in eggs are not absorbed in our bodies. Along with the once touted cry to stop consuming, it turns out there is more to cholesterol than we were hearing originally and– hold on – the safe limit to our bodily cholesterol is being raised.

Is this new cry about sitting true: we are sitting too much and it’s killing us?

Don’t I owe it to my more introverted friends to discuss these findings? After all, maybe introverts are more susceptible? Or maybe there is something to sticking to those New Years “exercise resolutions” after all.

My suspicions are either stoked by my introvert nature or the mere fact I question almost everything or my decades of accrued wisdom from personal experience.

It seems to me there is always something more to these cries of yet another health hazard.

Sitting Down – How Much Is Too Much Everyday?

In the United States, in the 1900s about half of all children born were only expected to live to reach the age of 50. Today, the life expectancy of an average person (of any sex) is about 77 years old.

Darn those nasty cars that we ride and drive in.

Oh boy the airlines are going to have more problems now.

Curse technology causing us to have computers at every desk where we can be quite productive.

Even with nutrition and overall advances in medicine and health care now sitting down too much every day might kill us.

But just how bad is sitting? Looking at a now removed infographic (isn’t that curious?) it looks like we have a real epidemic on our butts.

Talk about a demotivator instead of a motivator to exercise. Here is the lead sentence in one article:

“Even if you regularly exercise when not sitting behind your desk, it still significantly raises your risk for diabetes, heart disease (including strokes and heart attacks), obesity and even certain types of cancer.”

Tell that to my 88-year-old mom who never exercised as we might define it. Most of her career she was a registered nurse.healthy-in-old-age

I remember hearing stories from her, which often would include a passing comment about how much she walked that day, and was so delighted to just sit and gab with friends after a long day. Yes, she’s more of an extrovert type to want to have all that stimulation after a days work around so many people.

She’s not overweight, doesn’t have diabetes or cancer and only recently because of two falls within less than 6 months is now is a long term care facility and needs 2 nurses to help with her daily self-care activities.

Excuse me studies: I know at least one person who doesn’t fit your findings. I could go on with a list.

Dig deep into the “scare you out of your seat” articles, and you do find hope, or at least reports that balance the cry of fear.

Reported in a National Institutes of Health post, the presupposition of a study was maybe breaking sitting time would have positive effects on reducing the risks. While it certainly wasn’t a large study, the conclusions were positive:

When light activity breaks were introduced hourly during sitting, the decline in FMD (artery blood flow) was prevented.

There are 2 blog posts I’ve posted in the past referring to my daily habit using the Pomodoro technique  for focus and moving. I highly recommend this practice.

The idea is to work for 25 minutes and then take a short break. I use a 7-minute break but it can be less. During these 7 minutes I either head to my kitchen to drink a glass of water. Or I exercise with my hula-hoop or any number of 7 minute moving routines. The Pomodoro method was designed to improve mental agility with frequent breaks and you can double your pleasure with it for the break from sitting.

It’s highly likely there are other studies that come to a similar findings that refute we cannot either help or reverse things to some degree.

Then again there are continued statements or findings like:

“For every two hours of sitting, you raise your risk of colon cancer by 8 percent, endometrial cancer by 10 percent, and lung cancer by 6 percent.”

Dr. James Levine, at Mayo Clinic, claims there are at least 24 different chronic diseases and conditions from sitting too much can cause.

Follow-up soon with: some of the ailments from sitting too much.

sitting-too-muchFor a brief second I wanted to cry out to my more introverted followers, “Now more reason to get up off your butt and go out into your communities and play with your social side in networking and family gatherings.”

That was when my Pomodoro timer went off, I got up to get a cup of tea and came to my senses.

Let me ask you:

Do you believe every health scare you read or hear about?

How do you go about getting to the truth?

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  1. I too wonder sometimes about the health scares. Some are truly real, while others are border line and are open for interpretation.

    As for sitting all day long, I am forced to do this as a business analyst. I also exercise at my desk too, doing leg lifts, or just moving my legs like I am peddling a bike. Something you have to adapt to your environment.
    William Rusho recently posted…Illustrations and your Novel: A How to GuideMy Profile

  2. As you mentioned in your Post, there are too many contradictory bits of advice being published by experts. However, I do agree that sitting down for too long in the day can’t be good for you and I try and take a break every hour by getting up and moving away from chair and go for a short walk either to the kitchen or the garden so that my back, hands and eyes also get a break from sitting at the computer.
    Mina Joshi recently posted…Pav Bhaji (Spicy blend of vegetables served with bread)My Profile

  3. Kire Sdyor

    I believe that everything will eventually kill me. That being said the thought of a “standing desk” makes my feet ache. A “walking desk” makes my knees ache. No desk makes my wallet ache.
    Kire Sdyor recently posted…And the Oscar Goes To…My Profile

  4. Believe it or not, I do sit for two, stand up for 15 minutes because I work at home on the computer all day and have to move or my back will cramp up. I don’t listen to all the health reports because they always change. And, I love eggs and drink coffee and am still alive and kicking and surprisingly spry for an almost 60-year old. I even box and spar in the ring with my 200 pound trainer. But, yes, sitting all day is not good. That just seems like common sense! Good info.
    Laurie Hurley recently posted…Trim The Fat From Your Social Media PlanMy Profile

  5. Jeannette Paladino

    Pat — I now regard these “newest study reveals” articles with a jaundiced eye. You’ll always find experts on both sides of the argument. Fat is good for you — fat is bad for you. I think I gave up on these when many years ago when I read about a study that mother’s milk may not be good for babies!
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Maybe Social Media Isn’t the Way to Promote Your BusinessMy Profile

  6. Hi Patricia, I get so sick (haha) of hearing one day that something I’d going to kill us and then the next week that it is good for us. If we believe all those scary health reports in the news we’d be afraid to go or eat anything. Everything in moderation is key is my motto. To heck with those crazy studies.
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Panna Cotta With Fresh Fruit: #RecipeMy Profile

  7. Safariontheblog

    Patricia, Yeah I do agree that sitting down too long is not good for us. At work I move around so that blood can circulate. As Susan mentioned, I am tired too if hearing how one day something is going to kill us, the other day it won’t. Moderation is the key!
    Safariontheblog recently posted…The Art and Chess – Inspired Afternoon Tea at Le Méridien Piccadilly, LondonMy Profile

  8. Pamela Chollet

    How do we find the courage to get dressed in the morning? I wonder if people know that many of these, “studies” are statistically insignificant? I think it’s a good idea to make people more aware of the time spent sitting in front of a computer or while sitting at their desk in an office. If these articles were written as a “heads up” to people that would be great. What often happens is some KooKoo- Ca -Doo individual takes this misinformation to heart and tries to implement new “programs” in schools or the workplace. Soon we may have mandates for kids to perform 15 minutes of calisthenics for every 30 minutes of school work.
    Pamela Chollet recently posted…Teaching Your Children To Make Good Decisions And Why It’s ImportantMy Profile

  9. Pat- If you listened to every scare tactic out there you will drive yourself nuts. I think it boils down to everything in moderation. You can eat eggs but not a dozen in less than a week. Drink coffee but not 5 pots a day. The sitting on your rear for hours at the computer, I do believe with common sense can ill effects. I think movement throughout the day is important just to keep the blood flowing. I can’t tell you how many times a day I go up and down my stairs. When I go on a trip I put the luggage in the living room and make many trips up and down stairs that my husband laughs and says good stair climbing. Enjoyed your article
    Arleen recently posted…What is the magic of Branding?My Profile

  10. I stopped believing any of the scary health news years ago basically for the reason you mentioned. Yesterday it was bad for you, today we find it’s not. The one thing that always seemed to come through was all things in moderation and I think that ‘s key to everything.
    Lenie recently posted…Frugal FavouritesMy Profile

  11. I can’t attest to scientific backing on how bad it may be for us to spend so much time sitting, but I just think it best for the brain to make the butt get out of its chair at last once an hour. I used to be really bad about being glued to my seat, but my productivity increased when I moved more. When I was teaching I was always on my feet, and always weighed ten pounds less!
    Jeri recently posted…Ten Great Things That Can Happen in Your First Year as a Published Author by Gerald FreemanMy Profile


  1. […] physically active. We sit too long! Recently on a date night, my husband was so gracious to get me a seat at the bar while we were […]

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