Sitting and Health: Is sitting worse than smoking?

sitting and health

Where are you as your read this article? Are you sitting at a desk? Lounging on a sofa? If so, you could be doing damage to your health.

It turns out there is a strong link between sitting and health. Or, really, I should say between sitting and health-related conditions, like obesity. In fact, some scientists suggest that sitting all day could be worse for your health than smoking cigarettes.

If you work a typical desk job, chances are you spend a good part of your day sitting. Heck, I do far from typical freelance work, and I am sitting on a sofa in a coffee shop as I type this. After a day of sitting, do you head home and maybe watch your favorite shows on TV, sitting down once again to unwind from your day?

All told, we spend an average of around 12-13 hours on our booties. Even if you’re hitting the gym on a daily basis, you still spend a good part of the day sitting, and chances are it’s affecting your overall wellness. Check out this infographic on why all of this sitting is a problem, and below the graphic I have some options to help us all get on our feet a little bit more, even folks with desk jobs! (You can click the image to view a full-sized version.)

sitting and health infographic

Sitting and Health: Resources to Get On Your Feet

  • Try a standing desk Standing while you work all day might sound like a lot, but it can have big benefits for your health. If you’re not sure you’re up to standing all day, you can look for one that’s easy to adjust and work on standing for longer stretches until your body gets used to standing instead of sitting as you work.
  • Treadmill desk – Take it to the next level by pairing a treadmill with your standing desk. Look at thrift stores and used exercise equipment shops to find good deals on treadmills, and walk while you work!
  • Exercise ball – This is technically sitting, but your muscles are active, so it’s better for your body than sitting in an office chair. I will tell you a secret: companies sell lots of expensive exercise ball chairs, but instead of spending hundreds, you can just get a plain ol’ yoga ball and roll ‘er up to your desk. I did this when I was pregnant, and it was great for relieving some of my lower back pain. The bonus? A yoga ball might just help improve your concentration!
  • Take walking meetings – Take your meetings out of a boring conference room! Next time you have a one-on-one, head outside and meet while you stroll around the block.

Do you have any alternatives to sitting all day at work? I’d love to hear more ideas in the comments!

Image Credits: Sitting image via Shutterstock; Infographic via

Written by Becky Striepe

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .


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