Do You Spend Too Much Time Sitting?

March 21, 2019

According to a recent study, sitting for extended periods of time outside of work hours is associated with an increased risk of death, regardless of one’s level of physical activity. The study analyzed data from 127,554 subjects obtained over a 21-year period. The data revealed that sitting for six hours or more per day, outside of working hours, was associated with an increased risk of all-causes mortality (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, kidney, liver or lung disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, or others) compared to sitting less than three hours a day, regardless of the amount of physical activity performed. This study supports the fact that it is important to limit one’s time spent sitting time and move as much as possible.

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Reduce your sitting time

According to one study, it would be more effective to encourage people to limit sitting time than to encourage them to increase their level of physical activity. Thus, it is recommended to get up every 30 minutes or perform a 5 minute walk every hour. Using an alarm to help you remember to get up, keeping track of your sitting time, and setting personal goals to reduce it are some of the ways that have been effective in reducing sitting time. Ergonomic workstations are also an effective way to reduce sitting time.

A goal of 10,000 steps a day

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends doing 10,000 steps per day. This goal can be achieved by practicing physical activity on a regular basis, but also by increasing one’s steps as part of one’s daily living activities. Here are ten ideas to help you reach your 10,000 steps a day:

  1. Start counting your steps using a watch, pedometer or cell phone application
  2. Park your vehicle 15 minutes away from your work and walk
  3. Bike to work
  4. Park your vehicle at the back of the parking lot when you go shopping and walk
  5. Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  6. Go see your colleagues in person instead of sending them an email
  7. Go fill up your glass of water every hour
  8. Get up and walk around your office or house when you talk on the phone
  9. Take a walk during your lunch time or in the evening
  10. Organize activities with family or friends that require being active


  • Patel et coll.(2018) Prolonged Leisure Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Cause-Specific Mortality in a Large US Cohort. Am J Epidemiol;187(10):2151–2158.


Kathryn Adel
Kathryn holds a Bachelor Degree in Nutrition as well as a Bachelor and a Master Degree in Kinesiology, all from Laval University. She is a Registered Dietitian and active member of the Ordre professionnel des Diététistes Nutritionnistes du Québec (ODNQ) and of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She holds the Monash University's certification for the FODMAP diet and IBS, and has considerable clinical experience in that area. She is also an accomplished athlete, having ran track and cross-country at a national level. Kathryn specializes in sports nutrition, weight loss, diabetes, as well as heart and gastrointestinal health.

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