The Sitting Lifestyle and Health

Move your Way Campaign (ODPHP)

Sedentary Lifestyle Increases Risk for Chronic Diseases and Death

According to a study published November 20, 2018, in the JAMA Journal of the American Medical Association, a sedentary lifestyle and a lack of physical exercise can increase the risk for developing chronic diseases like high blood pressure and heart disease and can lead to early death. It is estimated that being physically inactive causes 10% of all early deaths.

The study surveyed 5,900 adults and found that nearly 26% spend more than eight hours a day sitting, 45% do not get any kind of moderate or strong physical exercise during the entire week and 11% spend more than eight hours a day sitting and get no physical exercise whatsoever.

Ways to Increase Physical Exercise While Sitting

Some of the ideas being toted to get people moving and exercising while they are sitting are treadmill desks where people can push pedals with their feet, chairs that are in constant motion that require people to move them about while sitting and walking meetings.

The Sitting Lifestyle

Living in today’s computer age has also led to the sitting lifestyle. People spend hours and hours sitting. Here is a typical day:

  • Sitting in a car or on a bus or train and commuting to work.
  • Sitting in an office for hours in front of a computer
  • Sitting in a car, bus or train to go home from work
  • Going home tired after a full day of work and becoming a couch potato in front of the TV or  computer at home.

New Guidelines for Physical Activity

The newly released 2nd edition of the US Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans was put together by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Move your Way Campaign

The ODPHP has launched the Move your Way Campaign to help people put the new guidelines into practice. One of the things the Move your Way Campaign emphasizes is that even small amounts of physical activity can go a long way to improving health and preventing disease.

Benefits from Small Amounts of Physical Activity

  • Better sleep
  • Improved focus
  • Better mood
  • Reduced stress
  • Reduced anxiety

Benefits from Regular Physical Activity

  • Improves brain health
  • Reduces risk for eight types of cancer
  • Lowers risk to gain too much weight

Benefits for Chronic Disease Conditions

  • Osteoarthritis can be helped by exercises to keep the joints open.
  • Physical exercise may help to lower blood pressure
  •  Exercise can improve type 2 diabetes by helping the body utilize sugar better .
  • Physical exercise can help people suffering from depression.

Study by the American Cancer Society Found Excessive Sitting Raised the Risk for Death from all Causes

A previous study published June 26, 2018, by the American Cancer Society in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that excessive sitting, which they defined as more than six hours in front of the computer or television, had a 19% risk for death from all causes such as:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Pneumonitis
  • liver and other digestive diseases,
  • Parkinson’s disease,
  • Alzheimer’s disease,
  • nervous disorders
  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • Suicide


Studies show that even small amounts of physical exercise have positive health benefits, so we should all strive to get moving and get more physical exercise.

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