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Why should we sit less?


Dr. Gururaj S Puranik, Senior Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedics

The link between illness and sitting first emerged in the 1950s, when researchers found London bus drivers were twice as likely to have heart attacks as their bus conductor colleagues.

It is thought excessive sitting slows the metabolism – which affects our ability to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, and metabolise fat – and may cause weaker muscles and bones.

A panel of leading experts, chaired by Professor Biddle, who reviewed the evidence on sitting for the “Sedentary Behaviour and Obesity” Expert Working Group, UK recommended breaking up long periods of sitting time with “shorter bouts of activity for just one to two minutes”.
“Breaking up sitting time engages your muscles and bones, and gives all our bodily functions a boost – a bit like revving a car’s engine,” says Professor Dunstan of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Australia.

Tips to reduce sitting time:

  • Stand on the train or bus
  • Take the stairs and walk up escalators
  • Set a reminder to get up every 30 minutes
  • Place a laptop on a box or similar to work standing
  • Stand or walk around while on the phone
  • Take a walk break every time you take a coffee or tea break
  • Walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of emailing or calling
  • Swap some TV time for more active tasks or hobbies