Is Sitting Down Really Bad for You?

Is Sitting Down Really Bad for You?


Updated on 03/06/2024

In today’s modern world, we are spending increasing amounts of time in environments that limit physical activity and require prolonged sitting.

With desk jobs, long-haul flights, binge-watching Netflix sessions, and endless scrolling through screens becoming the norm, concerns about the effects of prolonged sitting on our well-being have surged. 

So, is sitting down really that bad for you?

The simple answer is - yes, sitting for prolonged periods of time can have negative effects on our health

Research suggests that sitting for extended periods is associated with a number of health issues, such as a higher risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even certain types of cancer. Additionally, sitting for long periods can lead to poor posture, muscle stiffness, and decreased flexibility.

Martha Grogan, Cardiologist, at Mayo Clinic states that "For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking", pretty scary, right?

Is Sitting at a Desk Bad for You?

Yes, sitting at a desk for extended periods can be bad for you. Whether you’re sitting in a car, lounged on the sofa, or at a desk, sitting is sitting, so the same health risks apply for wherever you are.

Research has shown time and time again that people who have a job that involves being on their feet for most of the day tend to live longer than those who don't.

It's important to note that occasionally sitting at a desk itself isn't that harmful; it's the prolonged periods of immobility that pose the greatest risk to our health. 

Tips to Stay Active at Work

Whether you work from home or go into the office every day, staying active is key, especially if your job involves sitting at a desk all day, with the occasional trip to the kitchen to make a cuppa.

Here are 5 top tips to help you stay active at work:

1. Use a Standing Desk

This is one of, if not the, easiest way to stay active and on your feet while at work.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, a standing desk is a type of desk that allows you to move from a sitting position to a standing position via a manual or electric adjustment. 

Not only do standing desks promote better posture, blood circulation, and reduced back pain, you also burn more calories than if you were to sit at a normal desk. It’s a win-win! 

Manual standing desks are adjusted by a handle which you can turn. Electric desks on the other hand feature a motorised system whereby you simply need to press a button to adjust the height of the desk.

You can discover more about the key differences between electric and manual standing desks in this blog.

Check out our quality collection of standing desks here, and if you need additional help choosing a standing desk, get in contact with our expert team. 

2. Take the Stairs

While it might seem simple, taking the stairs is a really effective way to increase physical activity during the workday. 

If your office is on a high floor, ditch the lift and get your steps in (only if there are stairs, of course).

While it might take you slightly longer, climbing stairs will raise your heart rate and burn calories, providing a small cardiovascular workout. 

Do this everyday, or every time you’re in the office, and your cardiovascular system will strengthen over time.

3. Walk to Work

If your workplace is within walking distance, why not switch the car or public transportation for a nice walk or cycle to work?

Walking to work adds physical activity to your daily routine, helping you meet recommended daily activity guidelines. This is especially helpful if you have a sedentary job role that requires little to no movement.

Also, walking naturally releases endorphins, which promote feelings of happiness. Walking to work can therefore help improve your mood, reduce stress, and boost energy levels, just what you need for a productive work day.

What’s more, you’ll be helping the environment, too! It’s a win-win. 

4. Remember to Take Regular Breaks

Regardless of where you work and what work you do, it’s really important that you remember to take regular breaks throughout the day.

Not only is this movement good for your physical health, but mental health and work performance too. 

In fact, a study published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, which compared the productivity of 16 undergraduate students when breaks were not required with their output when breaks were taken at regular intervals, showed that 75% of students were substantially more productive during the session with breaks. 

Taking regular breaks away from your desk allows you to change positions, stretch, and have a little move around, reducing the strain on your muscles and joints and promoting better circulation. 

5. Do Your Stretches

Our last tip to encourage activity while at work is to do your stretches. 

There are some simple yet super effective ways you can move your body without even having to leave your desk:

  • Upper back stretch - Sit up straight and clasp your hands together in front of you. Extend your arms forward, rounding your upper back and shoulders and hold this position for up to 15 seconds.
  • Chest opener stretch - Sit up straight and interlock your fingers behind your back. Then, while keeping your arms straight, lift your hands away from your body, squeezing your shoulder blades together and hold for up to 30 seconds.
  • Spinal twist stretch - Sit up straight and place one hand on the back of your chair. Twist your torso towards that side, placing your other hand on the outside of your opposite thigh and hold for up to 30 seconds. Switch sides. 

We hope this blog has shed light on the impact of prolonged sitting and inspired you to incorporate more movement into your daily routine for a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.

Check out our wide range of quality standing desks, ergonomic office chairs and related accessories here. And for more tips and insights into the world of ergonomic office furniture, check out our standing desk news page.

If you need some help or a second opinion, feel free to get in touch with one of our friendly experts today at or 020 8064 0600.

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