How Much Sitting Is Too Much?

Does your work or lifestyle include sitting, we are here to answer an important question, how much sitting is too much? 

Experts recommend that you don't sit for longer than two to three hours at a time.

To ensure your body continues to work, take regular breaks from sitting down and engage in a moderate form of activity for just 20 to 30 minutes a day. 

Sitting all day may sound relaxing, but it must be done in moderation. 

As our world continues to embrace working from home, we must all remain vigilant in the fight against sedentary lifestyles.

How Much Sitting Is Too Much

Sitting all day does come with its share of problems. 

The question of just how much sitting we should do is somewhat subjective.

Some are perfectly content to be behind a screen all day whereas others hate the idea and can't remain idle for more than a few minutes.

Generally, though, you should never sit for longer than two hours at a time. In this article, we'll explain why.

How Much Sitting is Too Much Sitting?

Whether you're in your car on a long-distance drive, sleeping on an intercontinental flight, or working at your desk, you must be cautious of the time you spend idle.

There's no definitive answer to this question, but it's recommended that you get up and walk (or pull over and walk to a rest-stop) every couple of hours. 

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Take Regular Breaks

The physical and mental benefits associated with movement are both plentiful and well-documented.

Activity helps our hearts, brains, nervous systems, and even bowels become the well-oiled machines they were designed to be. 

An analysis of 13 studies found that people who sat idle for eight hours a day (with no form of exercise whatsoever) were just as likely to suffer from serious health problems as those who smoked heavily or were medically obese.

It is, therefore, essential that you aim to take regular breaks from sitting. 

Move Around

Sitting down after a hard day of work is one thing, but being on your butt all day is no good for your physical and mental health. 

Too much sitting isn't a 30-minute coffee break, it's over 2 hours of constant chair-hogging. If you think you're sitting too much, then get some activity in throughout the day. 

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For example, you could walk to the water fountain at work or take the stairs to your office. This doesn't sound like much, but it'll add up incrementally. Take small steps towards healthy living to avoid burnout and frustration. 

Why Can I Never Sit Still?

If you're wondering why you seem agitated and restless during a prolonged sitting session, you'll be glad to know you're not alone. In fact, most people have difficulty remaining stationary for long periods.

This is because humans weren't meant to sit still for hours. Our bodies and, overall physiology, were designed for movement throughout the forests, lowlands, and fields where our species originated.

To put it simply, human bodies weren't designed to sit still for boring office jobs and plane rides at huge altitudes.

There are, however, inherent individual differences between people. Some are perfectly fine (and conditioned to) long periods of idleness whereas others find the concept utterly painful.

Furthermore, those with attention deficit disorders are known to find sitting still a miserable, frustrating and futile process. 

Read More >> Sedentary Lifestyle: 7 Reasons Why Sitting Is Killing You

How Much Sitting Is Too Much

What Happens If You Sit For 11 Hours a Day?

The answer to that question is - nothing good. 

Sitting still for such a long period of time will wreak havoc with your bodily functions, emotions, and general health.

Not only are you at risk of suffering from low mood and even depression, but you also risk ailments like heart disease and deep vein thrombosis if your 11-hour sitting sessions are regular. 

Sitting for five fours a time is bad for your health - let alone 11. 

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Does Sitting make your Thighs Bigger?

Absolutely not. Why would it?

Your thighs (quadriceps) are the largest and most powerful muscles in the human body. Your ancestors relied on them to carry loads, walk long distances, accelerate away from predators, and strike down foes with powerful kicks.

Today, we train our thighs through weightlifting and sports.

Like all muscles, the quads require regular progressive overload and adequate nutrition to grow. Sitting down all day will just make them weaker. 

What Is Cross Sitting?

Cross sitting is the act of sitting with intertwined legs. Think of a praying Buddha or someone meditating. Though benign in moderation, cross sitting can cause problems with blood circulation if done for too long. 

There are quite a few myths out there regarding the effects of cross sitting, but one genuine one is its effect on posture.

According to research, sitting with your legs crossed for long periods of time can have a detrimental effect on your spine. This isn't good for those who find the position comfortable. 

Try to vary up your sitting positions to avoid changes in blood flow and spine position. This will aid you in the long run. 

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What muscles get weak from sitting?

The biggest victim of perpetual sitting is the gluteus Maximus muscle. Also known as the butt, it's responsible for powering the legs and helping them chug along as you walk.

Long sitting sessions can cause this muscle to be overdeveloped and fragile.

This means you'll not only have a flat butt (which isn't a desirable look) but you'll also be more prone to injury should you fall.

Your shoulder muscles will also suffer. The shoulder girdle is delicate at the best of times, let alone when it's hunched over a screen all day and not being trained properly.

Sitting for long periods can cause the shoulders to hunch over, making them weak and unattractive. 

How Do You Counteract Sitting All Day?

Move. It's as simple as that. The only way to counteract sitting all day is to be active. You don't have to train like an Olympian, you just need 20 to 30 minutes of moderate activity. 

If you're worried about your butt and shoulders being neglected, then do some basic moves for them such as hip thrusts and lunges (for your glutes) and some push-ups for your chest and shoulders.

You can even do these as you work, there's no need to join a gym or buy expensive fitness equipment. 

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Reversing the effects of sitting isn't rocket science. All it takes is a baseline level of commitment and discipline and a basic understanding of exercises.

Final Thoughts 

For optimal health, make sure that you never sit for more than two hours at a time.

Only in special circumstances should you give yourself a pass to sit longer (such as if you're on a long drive with no rest stops in sight) without interruption.

Sitting all day will have a negative effect on your glute, hip, neck, and shoulder muscles.

If your job or lifestyle is highly sedentary, then you must do corrective exercises for these muscles if you wish to keep them looking strong and desirable. 

You don't have to be a fitness master to stay fit.

As the world continues to move towards home-based working, we must all work to ensure we don't become vulnerable to the plethora of problems that sitting can do to us. 

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Darryl Higgins

Hi, I'm Darryl. I made this site to help share information & reviews about ergonomic desks, chairs & accessories to help others who want to work more comfortably. Learn more about my journey by reading my bio here. Enjoy!
Picture of Darryl Higgins

Darryl Higgins

Hi, I'm Darryl. I made this site to help share information & reviews about ergonomic desks, chairs & accessories to help others who want to work more comfortably. Learn more about my journey by reading my bio here. Enjoy!

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