How To Move Without Pain

Effects of Chronic Sitting on the Cardiovascular System

by Meghan Griech, PT, DPT, cert MDT, CKTP

This article takes 6 minutes to read

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Any time in one position for prolonged periods to time isn’t good. Our lives are often revolved around time at work at a desk, time in the car driving to practices, the grocery store or family road trips or time relaxing on the couch after a long day.

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What do these positions all have in common? Sitting.

Chronic sitting and sedentary positions has long been studied and related to progressive changes in our weight and cardiovascular health. Easily linked to obesity and a cluster of medical conditions that make up metabolic syndrome including: increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels or triglyceride levels.

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Obesity and metabolic syndrome greatly increase the risk of dying.  According to the Mayo Clinic an analysis of 13 studies found that those who sit more than 8 hours a day with no physical activity will have the same level of risk of dying posed by obesity and smoking.

It’s time to reverse this now. Adding in even light to moderate activity every day can have a profound effect on your overall health. This small increase in activity can improve muscle strength, heart function, increase energy, reduce stress, and improve cholesterol.

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Luckily, you can find ways to add exercise of any kind into your day, to reduce your time sitting and improve your health.

Here are a couple ideas

  – Walk while talking on the phone with a friend

 – do laps around the house while listening to an audio book

 – while your coffee is brewing, walking up and down the stairs 4 times

 – pick a parking spot farther away when going to a store or appointment

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 – set a timer and get up from your desk every 30minutes and do a couple laps up and down the halls

 – watch a show while walking on your treadmill

 – start a treadmill club over zoom with some friends

 – arrive early for practice pick up and do a couple laps around the parking lot

 – take the long way to the copier machine

 – opt for the stairs rather than elevator where ever you can

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Even small changes to incorporate activity into your everyday routines can have a huge effect.  Start small, and try to make it a challenge to yourself.  Consider trying to add one new change to your day every week.  With commitment you can change previous bad habits into new healthy behaviors!

Take the free Joint Health Assessment to learn the potential impact of your current activity limitations​

*Disclaimer: All information in this article is intended for instruction and informational purposes. The author(s) are not responsible for any harm or injury that may result.  This information is used to supplement not replace any advice you were provided from your doctor or another medical health professional.  No guarantees of specific results are expressly made or implied with this article.

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