How Long Do You Sit For?

Most adults spend about 10 hours a day sitting down. 10 hours takes up most of the hours you are awake.

Sitting for long periods of time is not good for your health and it causes your body to change. When you don’t use your muscles, they get weak. Sitting increases your risk of getting diseases such as heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes.

If you sit a lot, there are simple things you can do to change how long you sit for.

Here is a closer look at a few of the body changes that happen when you sit for long periods of time, regularly:

Your blood flow slows down. With slower blood flow, fatty acids (the building blocks of fat) can collect on the walls of your blood vessels. Over time, this process can lead to heart disease.

You may develop insulin resistance. Insulin resistance means your body does not respond to insulin as well so sugar can’t be moved into your cells for energy. When this happens, your blood sugar levels increase which can cause type 2 diabetes.

Your body breaks down fats more slowly. Your body makes about 90% less of the enzyme (a type of protein) that breaks down fat. With so little enzyme, you body cannot break down fat so it is stored in your body instead. Too much fat stored in your body increases your risk of heart disease.

How Can I Sit Less?

Tips to Sit Less

Sitting increases your risk of disease. Take action to sit less:

  • Stand up or walk around for 2 to 3 minutes for every 45 to 60 minutes of sitting.
  • Lower your total sitting time to less than 4 to 6 hours a day.
  • Stand during activities you usually sit for

The first step to change your sitting habits is exercise. But exercise is not enough. If you exercise, but still sit often, your risk for disease remains higher. You also need to sit less.

To start sitting less, set small goals to take breaks from sitting. Set an alarm to remind you to get up and stand or move around every 45 to 60 minutes. Over time, lower your total sitting time to less than 4 to 6 hours a day.

Here are a few other ways you can work toward sitting less and moving more:

  • Switch to standing when you
    • work (use a stand up desk and stand during meetings)
    • talk (or text) on the telephone
    • watch television
    • fold clothes
    • meet with friends and family
  • Park further from the place you are going.
  • If you are able to, use the stairs more often than elevators and escalators.