Sitting Is The New Smoking: The Dangers of the 9 to 5 Desk Job Around 86% of Americans sit at desk jobs all day, every day, according to a survey by digital display mounting company, Ergotron. Don’t think that most are heading to the gym after a long day, either. Around 36% sit for another couple of hours watching television, while 29%, log onto the computer to surf or connect up with others on social media. Even if you exercise the recommended 150 minutes a week, it doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Sedentarism needs to be battled every day throughout the day – otherwise, the consequences can be significant. Sedentarism and Heart Disease Research published in 2016 by the American Heart Association showed that even if you exercise frequently, sitting down for long periods of time can harm your heart and blood vessels. The researchers noted that rather than lumping all your workout time into a couple of days, being active every day (and throughout the day) was more desirable. They added that even if you exercised at the end of the day, simply sitting, lying down, or being inactive for six to eight hours a day can put you at a higher risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and an overall higher risk of death from all causes. Staying Put and Putting on Weight Losing weight depends on expending more calories than you consume, while maintaining it depends on keeping the right balance between food consumption and energy expenditure. Your calorie burn rate when sitting is lower – as little as one calorie per minute. According to the calculator at, you can burn over 300 calories more if you stand than sit – which is great news for your waistline and your circulation. Sedentarism doesn’t only mean you are more likely to pack on the pounds, it also builds up dangerous liver fat , according to the European Association for the Study of Obesity. Researchers state that for every one hour of increased sedentary time, liver fat increases by 0.87%, while for every daily increase of 1000 steps, there is an equally large drop in levels of liver fat. Battling Sedentarism is a Daily Job Rather than waiting until the end of the day to enjoy movement, take frequent breaks throughout the day. Try to stop at least every hour and perform a few stretching exercises, run up and down a few flights of steps, or perform a few yoga poses to get your circulation going and your joints in motion. If you have flexible hours or your company pauses for lunch, use it to complete your workout. You don’t need to sweat heavily to battle sedentarism. Even walking briskly outside can help you reach your step limit for the day. Use a fitness tracker if you must to analyze and work on calories burned, steps taken, etc. You may not be able to reduce the number of hours you spend behind a desk every day, but you can certainly battle the effects of sedentarism by taking frequent breaks to move, walk, or walk up and down steps. During break time, instead of sitting around with colleagues, suggest a brisk walk, especially if you work near a beautiful outdoor area. Finally, try to walk more every day, parking your car further than you normally would, or commuting to work and getting off a stop or two before your office. It is alarming to think that sedentarism can harm you even if you do exercise as much as you should. The key is to avoid long periods of sitting; in essence, just keep moving. About the Author: Sally Phillips is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.