Is Sitting the New Smoking?

Have you heard people saying that sitting is the new smoking? Well I am here to explain. As a matter of fact, they aren’t far off. New research is coming out showing that increased sitting or sedentary behaviour can be linked to chronic health conditions including but not limited to type 2 diabetes, hypertension and fatty liver.

If you look around our lifestyles have changed from the hunter gatherer times and even more recently with activities that we do in our spare time. Our lives are now based around screens and it is also starting from a young age. Kids are now playing on their screens more and more instead of running around playing outdoors. People are working longer hours, sitting in front of their desks for longer, longer commutes to and from work sitting in their cars or on the train, and when you get home you put your feet up and sit watching T.V.

Research is now showing that it doesn’t matter if you get up and go to the gym in the morning. Sitting for hours on end with minimal breaks can undo all that hard work and still contribute to these conditions.


Image sourced from Physical Activity Australia

I’m not here to report all doom and gloom. I am also here to give you some tips and tricks as to how you can decrease sedentary time throughout your day. 


  1. Let’s address the craze of the stand-up desk. If you haven’t read our previous Blog on the stand-up desk, head on over to read our full thoughts. Stand up desks are good as long as they are set up correctly. Just because you are using a stand-up desk doesn’t mean it can have great benefits. For instance, if you are stooped over and using your desk to support your bodyweight you may end up with more niggles and less of a benefit than if you were sitting. They are great to use intermittently throughout the day for periods of 30 minutes to an hour or as long as you can manage whilst maintaining a ‘good posture’. Stand up desks don’t have to be expensive either. I am currently using 3 different boxes to raise the height of my monitor keyboard and mouse in my home office.

  2. Have a walking meeting. This is a great way to encourage movement for not only yourself but another colleague. Yes, there are some challenges with this but use technology to your advantage by voice recording notes or reminders. Not only does this get you up and out of your chair but you are also adding more exercise to your day.

  3. Stand up when you take a phone call. If you need to make notes whilst on the phone call find a bench in the kitchen at chest height, or this would be a great time for use of your stand-up desk.

  4.  Park your car further away. This won’t help you in decreasing your sedentary time but it will increase your incidental activity.

  5.  Take the stairs instead of the lift. Again, this will benefit increasing your incidental activity. *disclaimer probably not a brilliant idea if you are on the 70th floor, and you can’t use this as an excuse if you’re late to work.

  6. Walk over to your colleague instead of emailing. Not only will this get you up and out of your chair, it usually is quicker and you can have an immediate response.

  7.  Keep a glass of water on your desk not a bottle to encourage you to stand up and refill your glass throughout the day.


If you are unsure if you are sitting too much throughout the day or would like more information on how you can directly decrease your sedentary time or increase your incidental activity, get in touch with one of our Exercise Physiologists who can offer complimentary consultations to discuss the above. We also offer ergonomic assessments for your workstation whether it be at work or at home.

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