Why You Should Sit Less

Written By Tracy & Keim Chiropractic LLC on February 23, 2021

man with back pain from sitting too much

Sitting has been called the new smoking—and it’s quantity that makes this true. Estimates of how much time the average adult spends sitting each day vary. But whether it’s six hours or nine hours, there’s one thing everyone seems to agree on: Most people spend too much of their lives sitting down. But why is that a problem?

Why is Sitting Bad for You?

Sitting itself isn’t a bad thing. It’s a way to give your body a rest and enables you to relax after physical activity. The problem is that many people spend too much time in this sedentary state. Because sitting uses less energy than moving or even standing, too much of it can lead to negative health conditions, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

You may be surprised to learn that even if you’re meeting recommended daily activity guidelines by working gym time or a morning run into your day, too much sitting can still increase your risk for the health problems identified above. In addition to getting regular exercise, it’s also important to reduce your total sitting time.

But sitting less is easier said than done, especially if you earn your living sitting at a desk, or have to spend long hours in the car during your daily commute. It doesn’t help that many of our leisure activities have become sedentary too. Watching TV or scrolling through social media on your phone may feel like a good way to unwind, but activities like these don’t do your body any favors.

So how can you reduce your sitting time while still doing your job and finding time to relax?

How to Sit Less and Move More

Fortunately, sitting less and moving more doesn’t require a major life change. You can take small steps to reduce your sitting time. In fact, breaking up periods of sitting with short bursts of activity is one of the best ways to combat the negative effects of too much seat time. Try to work some of these simple ideas into your daily routine.

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Walk or bike to your destination.
  • Use your work breaks to get up and walk around.
  • Walk across the hall to talk to your coworker instead of texting or sending an email.
  • Use your downtime to dance, do yoga, go birdwatching, ride your bike, or do other physical activities you find enjoyable.
  • Track your steps and activity. There are several affordable fitness trackers, or you can try one of the myriad of apps designed to help you be more aware of your activity levels and stay active every day.
  • Invite your spouse, coworkers, or friends to join you in sitting less and moving more so you can encourage and motivate each other.
  • Set an alarm every 30 minutes to remind you to stand up. If you can walk or move around during this time, even better.
  • Choose manual: Do the dishes at the sink instead of loading them into the dishwasher. Wash your car by hand instead of taking it to a drive-thru car wash. Walk across the street to check the mail instead of doing it from the car as you pull in.

It’s also important to identify what it is about your lifestyle that contributes to too much sitting, so you can choose the methods that will help you make the most difference. For example, if you sit too much at work, you might ask your employer about investing in a standing desk, or set a goal to leave the office for lunch instead of eating at your desk. Maybe you do okay at work, but when you get home in the evenings you just want to sit down and watch TV. In that case, could you do some shopping around for a treadmill or stationary bike to use while you watch your favorite show? Or is there a more active hobby you could take up that would fulfill your need to unwind after work?

Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous for it to count—you just have to be standing or moving instead of sitting or lying down. Taking simple steps to reduce your sitting time can reduce your risk of certain diseases, help you burn more calories throughout the day, and make you feel energized. You may be surprised to find out how much sitting less and moving more improves your overall health and sense of well-being.


  1. https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/americans-need-to-move-more-and-sit-less.html
  2. https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/heart-health-education/sit-less-move-more
  3. https://www.verywellfit.com/hacks-to-sit-less-and-save-your-life-3434976

Posted In: Chiropractic General Health Back Pain