Is “Sitting Disease” A Real Health Risk?

From ELEVATE Magazine

Published: 20 April 2014

Dr. Raza Awan suggests three ways we can get moving at work.

Office workers, beware. Did you know we spend three-quarters of our waking hours sitting or lying down? All that time on our derrières negatively affects our health, stresses out the heart, expands our waistline and increases the risk of diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure. Researchers have dubbed these ill effects as “sitting disease.”

Toronto physiatrist Dr. Raza Awan has seen an increase in joint and muscular pain as a result of our penchant for a sedentary lifestyle and isn’t surprised by the connection to other health conditions. “When you sit for long periods of time, the way your body metabolizes fat and sugar changes,” explains Awan.

The good news? Sitting disease is preventable. Here are three ways to reduce your time on your behind!

  1. Take a stand. Stand while talking on the phone or reading a report. “If you aren’t typing, you can get up,” says Awan. Programmable apps like, such as BreakTaker remind us to stand every 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Try a moving station. Treadmill desks offer the flexibility of working while moving at one to two miles per hour —enough to get the heart rate up but not too fast to distract from work.
  3. Swap out the office chair for a stability ball. Sitting atop it helps improve posture and strengthen abs, legs and back muscles.

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