We spend a large portion of our time sitting. In school, at work, on the couch, at a restaurant — all activities that require us to be sedentary. The Washington Post reported that on average, the adult American spends about 6.5 hours a day sitting. Exercise helps our bodies remain strong and healthy, but does an hour at the gym make up for almost 7 hours or more of sitting? Does sitting that much actually pose a threat to our health?

Studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to heart disease and an increased risk of diabetes. The lack of movement and blood flow also can lead to obesity, as we are not burning as many calories when we are still. Doctors recommend getting up from your desk and walking around every hour to relieve pressure on your glutes and leg muscles. 

The creator of the “Standup desk,” argues that humans are not designed to sit for that long. When we do, the pressure on our glutes and hamstrings lead to muscular imbalances. This alters our posture, puts pressure on our joints and tilts our hips. 

Sitting for extended periods of time also has been shown to decrease mental clarity. A study done in Australia showed a correlation between sitting and decreased mental health. The results showed that “men who worked more than 6 hours a day had increased prevalence of moderate psychological distress.” 

So, if possible, get up as much as you can. Maybe talk to your boss about instilling standup desks or mandatory break periods where you have to work on your feet. 

By Stephanie Cornwell