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Are You Sitting Down?


How many hours a day do you spend sitting?

If you’re one of the millions of people who …

  • Work at an office job
  • Commute by car as driver or passenger
  • Watch TV or go to movies
  • Attend school
  • Play computer games

… your answer is probably that you sit a lot.

In her excellent book, The Vital Psoas Muscle, Jo Ann Stauguard-Jones refers to us as “The Hip Flexion Society” because we spend so much of our lives in chairs. We have the dubious distinction of being more sedentary as a society than at any other time in human history.

When we sit, the muscles in our hips are relaxed and staying seated for hours on end impacts circulation, muscles and nerves. Over time these muscles will become shorter and weaker.

In my blog 5 Steps to Back Pain Relief, I reference a Newsweek article, “Why Sitting Just Might Kill You”. Much research is underway that proves too much sitting is linked to a variety of diseases.

Scary Research

In a study of over 123,000 men and women, The American Cancer Society found the following:

  1. Women who spend over 6 hours a day sitting were 37% more likely to die sooner than women who spend less than 3 hours sitting daily.
  2. Men who spend over 6 hours a day sitting have an 18% increased risk of death compared to those who spend 3 hours or less sitting daily.

And, by the way, the study said this was independent of physical exercise.

That got my attention. I’m physically very active with my yoga teaching and practice, weight work, walking and spinning. But, I’m fairly sure I sit more than 3 hours a day.

So, what’s a person to do?Beginners Yoga Classes

Following are some possibilities:

  1. If you are sitting a lot, get up and move your body in all 5 directions at least once an hour. (See my e-book, The Five Essentials of Yoga Movement)
  2. Design an office space where you stand to work on your computer. Just be sure your monitor is at eye level to avoid other issues. My business coach, Cheri Ruskus, recently adopted this practice in her office.
  3. Take a yoga class. Just be sure to go to a class that is suitable for your level and that moves your spine in all directions. Better yet, take some private yoga sessions and get yoga instruction designed to meet your particular situation.
  4. Go for walks. Several short walks during the day – even around your house – will get you out of your chair and moving.
  5. Exercise is good. Just be mindful of the type. Aerobics, spinning, weight work and sometimes Pilates involve a lot of hip flexion. Be sure to counteract the flexion with hip extension.

Understanding the negative effects of too much sitting is going mainstream. That makes me hopeful that we will begin to reverse this sedentary trend.

And, yes, I did write some of this standing up. How about you? Are you standing up to read it? :=)

Enjoy and Breathe Easy

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Joanne Thompson

Joanne Thompson

Founder/Owner at Yoga for Self

Health is a precious gift and my goal is to help you live a healthier, happier life through yoga. Every private session is uniquely designed just for you. For a free telephone consultation call me at 303.818.4181. Discover whether personalized, private yoga instruction is right for you.
Joanne Thompson

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