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The Trouble with Sitting All Day (And How to Fix It)

Posted on May 28, 2024

Sitting all day can take a toll on everything from your posture and weight to your vein health. Some of the worst effects aren't even immediately visible. But they're developing beneath the surface of your skin!

man sitting on chair at desk, working on lap top

What Sitting All Day Does to the Body

When you spend all day on your rear, you may develop:

Heart Problems

A study from Loughborough University and the University of Leicester notes that you're 90% more likely to die from heart disease if your job keeps you sitting all day.

Shortemed Life Span

In the Cancer Prevention Study II we learned that sitting for more than six hours a day resulted in a higher risk of death than if you sat for less than three hours each day. Then, if you sit for longer, you face an increased risk for cardiac disease, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and death by suicide.


Sitting for more than four hours raises your risk for blood clots, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control). The risk increases for people over 40, obese individuals, or anyone who recently underwent surgery. Taking estrogen-based birth control or hormone-replacement therapy drugs also raises your risk. And your risk increases during pregnancy and for the three months following your delivery; during or after cancer treatment; or if you have varicose veins or have a family history of blood clots. Interestingly, sitting all day also increases your risk for developing varicose veins.

Varicose Veins

While you could develop these veins from all-day sitting, standing for too long is also a risk factor. Why? Both sitting and standing can make blood pool in your legs, putting pressure on the veins and allowing them to stretch. If that happens, the vein walls can weaken, causing damage to the valves that help maintain proper blood flow.

Reverse the Effects of Sitting All Day

While sitting all day is a health risk, this study in JAMA Network Open shows that simply sitting less can help lower blood pressure in adults, even in those who are obese and suffer from hypertension. Plus, by adding in just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day, a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology shows that you can counteract the effects of all-day sitting, reducing your risk for premature death by 17%. Then, if you upgraded to 30 minutes of moderate activity daily? The risk was reduced by 35%.

How Physical Activity Fights the Side Effects of Sitting

When you're active, you support your cardiovascular health. In turn, this helps control your weight, lowers cholesterol, builds bone and muscle strength and may even improve mental health.

And Consider Compression Socks

When all day sitting is non-negotiable, you may wish to consider wearing compression socks while you're stuck in a chair. Why? Compression socks can keep your feet and legs from feeling tired or achy, painful or swollen. And they can lower the risk for varicose veins and blood clots.

How? They put pressure on the leg, increasing blood flow out of the legs and to your heart. Of course, wearing these socks isn't a replacement for physical activity. However, they can help offset unwanted side effects of sitting all day while you must remain in place.

Need more help managing your vein health? That's what our interventional radiologists in Georgia are here for. Schedule your vein health consultation today to prevent further damage from all-day sitting!

Sources: British Journal of Sports Medicine, American Journal of Epidemiology, Cancer.Org

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