top of page

The Silent Threat: Unraveling the Link Between Sitting Time and Premature Death

Updated: Apr 7

Understanding the Science and Strategies to Break Free from Sedentary Behaviour

Photograph of man sitting and watching TV

In the fast-paced world we live in, the prevalence of sedentary lifestyles has become a silent yet significant threat to our overall health. As a lifestyle medicine doctor, it is crucial to shed light on a compelling revelation: sitting time is independently associated with premature death. In this blog, we'll delve into the scientific evidence behind this connection and explore practical strategies to mitigate the risks associated with prolonged periods of sitting.

The Science Behind the Association

Recent research has uncovered a sobering truth – the amount of time we spend sitting independently correlates with the risk of premature death, irrespective of other lifestyle factors. Here's a closer look at the science that underlines this association:

1 - Time Factor:

As soon as you sit, electrical activity in the leg muscles shuts off and calorie burning drops to 1 per minute. Enzymes that help break down fat drop by 90%. After 2 hours, good cholesterol drops by 20%. After 24 hours, insulin effectiveness drops by 24% increasing the risk of diabetes.

2 - Cardiometabolic Impact:

Prolonged sitting has been linked to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. These conditions, in turn, contribute significantly to the risk of premature mortality.

3 - Musculoskeletal Consequences:

Extended periods of sitting can lead to musculoskeletal issues such as back pain and poor posture. High amounts of stress are placed on the spine, specifically in the lower back and neck regions. Over time, these issues may impact mobility and overall physical health, influencing the risk of premature death.

4 - Inflammatory Responses:

Sedentary behavior is associated with an increase in systemic inflammation, a key factor in the development and progression of various chronic diseases. Chronic inflammation has been identified as a contributor to premature mortality.

Strategies to Break the Sedentary Cycle

1 - Incorporate Movement Breaks:

Set a timer to remind yourself to stand up and move for a few minutes every hour. This simple practice can counteract the negative effects of prolonged sitting.

2 - Active Commuting:

Consider walking or cycling to work if feasible. If that's not an option, park farther away from your workplace or use public transportation as an opportunity to incorporate more movement into your day.

3 - Desk Exercises:

Integrate simple exercises into your routine, such as stretching, leg lifts, or seated marches, to keep your muscles engaged and promote circulation while at your desk.

4 - Standing Workstations:

Explore the possibility of using a standing desk at work. Alternating between sitting and standing throughout the day can significantly reduce total sitting time.

5 - Engage in Regular Physical Activity:

Dedicate time to regular physical activity outside of working hours. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, as recommended by health guidelines.


It is important to recognise the profound impact of sitting time on your health and longevity. Embracing a more active lifestyle, even in small increments, can make a significant difference in reducing the risk of premature death.

Start Your Journey with us today. Click Here to see our services.

2 views0 comments


bottom of page