When you sit, you use less energy than you do when you stand or move.

    Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns. They include obesity and a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and unhealthy cholesterol levels — that make up metabolic syndrome. Too much sitting overall and prolonged periods of sitting also seem to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

    Any extended sitting — such as at a desk, behind a wheel or in front of a screen — can be harmful.

    Researchers analyzed 13 studies of sitting time and activity levels. They found that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to that posed by obesity and smoking. However, unlike some other studies, this analysis of data from more than 1 million people found that 60 to 75 minutes of moderately intense physical activity a day countered the effects of too much sitting. Other studies have found that for people who are most active sitting time contributes little to their risk of death.

    Overall, research seems to point to the fact that less sitting and more moving contribute to better health. You might start by simply standing rather than sitting when you have the chance. Or find ways to walk while you work. For example:

    • Take a break from sitting every 30 minutes.
    • Stand while talking on the phone or watching television.
    • If you work at a desk, try a standing desk — or improvise with a high table or counter.
    • Walk with your colleagues for meetings rather than sitting in a conference room.
    • Position your work surface above a treadmill — with a computer screen and keyboard on a stand or a specialized treadmill-ready vertical desk — so that you can be in motion throughout the day.

    The impact of movement — even leisurely movement — can be profound. For starters, you'll burn more calories. This might lead to weight loss and increased energy. Also, physical activity helps maintain muscle tone, your ability to move and your mental well-being, especially as you age.

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    July 13, 2022

    1. Lakerveld J, et al. Sitting too much: A hierarchy of socio-demographic correlates. Preventive Medicine. 2017;101:77.
    2. Saeidifard F, et al. Differences of energy expenditure while sitting versus standing: A systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. 2018;25:522.
    3. Prolonged sitting linked to serious health risks, death. American Academy of Family Physicians. https://www.aafp.org/news/health-of-the-public/20150127sitting.html. Accessed April 10, 2018.
    4. Diaz KM, et al. Patterns of sedentary behavior and mortality in U.S. middle-aged and older adults: A national cohort study. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2017;167:465.
    5. Biddle SJH, et al. Too much sitting and all-cause mortality: Is there a causal link? BMC Public Health. 2016;16:635.
    6. Ekelund U. Infographic: Physical activity, sitting time and mortality. British Journal of Sports Medicine. In press. Accessed April 10, 2018.
    7. Stamatakis, E, et al. Sitting time, physical activity, and risk of mortality in adults. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2019; doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2019.02.031.

    See more Expert Answers

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    .

    Does sitting raise blood pressure?
    Recent studies have shown that extended sitting during the day can increase blood pressure, which is a key risk factor for heart disease. more
    How long can blood sit out?
    The 30-minute rule states that red blood cell (RBC) units left out of controlled temperature storage for more than 30 minutes should not be returned to storage for reissue; the 4-hour rule states that transfusion of RBC units should be completed within 4 hours of their removal from controlled temperature storage. more
    How should you sit with blood pressure?
    With the cuff on your bare arm, sit in an upright position with back supported, feet flat on the floor and your arm supported at heart level. Make sure the bottom of the cuff is directly above the bend of the elbow. Relax for about five minutes before taking a measurement. more
    Does sitting with feet up raise blood pressure?
    Poor support for your feet or back while seated can raise your blood pressure reading by 6 to 10 points. You should sit in a chair with your back supported and feet flat on the floor or a footstool. Crossing your legs can add 2 to 8 points to your reading. more
    How long can blood sit without being spun?
    If a wet blood sample is kept at room temperature, in most cases it should be in the laboratory for testing within eight hours of the blood collection event. If testing cannot be completed within that 8-hour timeframe, the sample is typically placed in cold storage at +2°C to +8°C for no longer than seven days. more
    How long can blood sit out before being spun?
    2. Whole blood samples should not remain at room temperature longer than 8 hours. If assays are not completed within 8 hours, samples should be stored at +2°C to +8°C no longer than 7 days. more
    How long can a blood clot sit in your leg?
    Living with DVT It is important to start treatment right away for DVT. It takes about 3 to 6 months for a blood clot to go away. During this time, there are things you can do to relieve symptoms. Elevate your leg to reduce swelling. more
    How long does blood have to sit before spinning?
    Let the blood sit for 30 minutes to one hour at room temperature to clot before spinning and separating. A delay in centrifugation may have a detrimental effect on the sample quality and may result inaccurate results. more
    How long can blood sit in tubes?
    Tubes of blood are to be kept closed at all times. 2. Whole blood samples should not remain at room temperature longer than 8 hours. If assays are not completed within 8 hours, samples should be stored at +2°C to +8°C no longer than 7 days. more
    How long can a blood sample sit before being spun?
    If a wet blood sample is kept at room temperature, in most cases it should be in the laboratory for testing within eight hours of the blood collection event. If testing cannot be completed within that 8-hour timeframe, the sample is typically placed in cold storage at +2°C to +8°C for no longer than seven days. more
    How long should you let blood sit before spinning?
    Let the blood sit for 30 minutes to one hour at room temperature to clot before spinning and separating. A delay in centrifugation may have a detrimental effect on the sample quality and may result inaccurate results. more

    Source: www.mayoclinic.org

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