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Prolonged Sitting Can Kill You

Sitting results in the highest pressure on any of your disks in your spine. Inactivity can also result in the shortening of muscles, ligaments, and tendons so that when they do move they feel painful or sore.

But the most important effect to your body with prolonged sitting occurs at a molecular level. As soon is the body is mobilized, a molecular cascade occurs. Blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol are activated. So with prolonged sitting organ damage can occur. With prolonged sitting blood flows slower and muscles burn less fat which makes fatty acids more likely to clog your heart. The lack of insulin stimulation through activity results in your pancreas producing less resulting in diabetes. Excess sitting may increase your risk for breast, colon and endometrial cancers due to weight gain, alteration of hormones, metabolic dysfunction, and inflammation. Your brain gets fuzzy due to the lack of flow of blood and oxygen. Prolonged sitting also results in poor circulation, swelling of your ankles, varicose veins and blood clots. Lastly, osteoporosis may develop secondary to the lack of weight-bearing activity.

It has been found that inactivity or the watching of television after the age of 25 produces your life expectancy by 22 minutes. Thus, if one were to sit for six hours and watch TV or stay stationed behind a desk it is expected that their life expectancy will be shortened by approximately five years compared to someone who has a more active lifestyle.

In order to sit smarter and reduce the ill effects of prolonged sitting it is recommended:

  • You stand is much as possible
  • You stack sit or sit in an erect fashion
  • You stretch sit or use a lumbar roll
  • Try to stand and move at least 10 minutes every hour
  • Try to get as much exercise/activity as possible

To learn more about Dr. Cotler or to schedule an appointment, please call us on (713) 523-8884 or visit


Howard B. Cotler, MD, FACS, FAAOS is board certified and recertified in Orthopedic Surgery. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery and the American College of Surgeons.

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