Sitting is the most unhealthy thing we do and killing us

Sitting: The most unhealthy thing we do

You might want to stand up for this. Sitting is the most unhealthy thing we do, considered the new smoking and killing us, even if we train for a marathon or exercise regularly. Bummer.

An article from TIME magazine warned us: “Your workout may not mean a lot if you sit too much.” According to a study done at the University of Toronto, heavy sitter have high odds for developing nasty diseases.

That made me think. I actually thought a hard workout routine consisting of cycling, running and swimming would give me a free pass for resting on my bum as long as I wanted to.

But I had to admit. My mostly sedentary office life was everything but energizing. My hunched over posture with round shoulders and a dropping head probably made for a very discomforting squeezed position of my lungs.

Because of a tight lower back, some discomfort in my right shoulder and a sometimes nagging hamstring I also sought the help of a rolfer at the same time. He confirmed that my hips, pelvis and lower back were literally clued together to one block.

That’s when I knew I was foolish to think that sitting actually contributed to the recovery from hard workouts. I was losing range of motion and put my body in a very compromising position.

I mean really. We train hard to run a race that lasts about four hours in average but we have trouble standing for four hours? It should be obvious that something is not right.

Studies confirm: chronic long sitting contributes to all the nasty things I’m trying to avoid:

  • Reduces insulin sensitivity and good cholesterol levels
  • Plays havoc with appetite regulation hormones
  • Tightens muscles
  • Slows down blood flow and causes red blood cells to clump together
  • Increases chronic inflammation

So it was time for an honest evaluation. How many hours a day do I sit? Eating. Driving. Commuting. Working at the desk. Watching TV. Reading in bed or even sitting on the toilet. It all adds up. You’re going to be surprised. I’m telling you.

It was time for change.

My simple strategies to sit less

Activity or fitness tracker
My first step was getting one of those super smart sport watches. It can’t make Matcha latte the Bulletproof way though. However, it tracks everything, including my steps and times when I keep very still. When this happens too long it turns into a bully and shouts MOVE. No matter how much I worked out that day or how many steps I have already taken.

Standing desk
If you don’t like to be bullied by a wristband, you can turn your desk into a standing desk. One way is to collect abandoned telephone books from the dumpster and build your own laptop holding tower. If you don’t trust your engineering abilities you can also invest into a professional riser that sits on top of your existing desk.

I abandoned my office desk and moved my laptop to the kitchen counter, which I now use as a standing station. The added benefit – or not – is close proximity to the fridge.

More to come
By the way, sitting for too long dehydrates your butt and thighs. No kidding. Your own body weight is pressing the liquid out of your connective tissue, which is home to most of your sensory nerve endings

You will read in a future blog post what detrimental effect that has on your body. But don’t you worry. I will offer a solution for that as well.

Sitting is the most unhealthy thing we do and killing us by
Tanja Knapp
About the Author
Tanja Knapp

Tanja Knapp is an Explorer, Adventurer and Happiness Hunter currently camping in beautiful Vancouver, Canada. Her roots are in Germany where she grew up on a remote farm. A colony of abnormal cells in her cervix taught her the lesson that would change her life forever. Life doesn't get better by chance, it get better by change. She truly believes in creating happiness & health through constant adapting, growing and evolving. Her super power is curiosity. With her blog she likes to inspire others to explore uncharted territory.

If she is not busy writing, running, swimming or cycling, she is expanding her knowledge, exploring the World, and taking on new challenges.

She is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and graduated with an Honors diploma in Holistic Nutrition from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in 2013. She obtained a Hospitality certification in 1998 and a Marketing Communications diploma in 2004. She has worked both in Europe and North America.


  1. terry mcgrath says

    What is a rolfer?
    Like the info that sitting dehydrated your butt and most of your sensory nerves make this home.

    • Tanja Knapp says

      Great question, Terry. I didn’t know what rolfing is until the universe put a pamphlet in front of me three month ago. I’m trying to recognize these little hints more often now 🙂
      Anyway, a rolfer tries to rebalances the fascia, your connective tissue (home of most of the sensory nerves). Some amazing research has been done on the fascia in the last years. Some also think that it is not just a supporting structure but actually its own system. Treating the fascia, so advocates claim, is the key to chronic pain. Stay tunes for my next post on that topic.

  2. Kevan King says

    Hey T. I’d generally agree with you about the sitting thing for extended periods of time, but now that I’m doing way more swimming these days methinks it all boils down to balance & how U time yr sit-downs, esp in a work environment which, let’s face it, can’t always be avoided. If I swim enough laps I might try marathon someday.

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