This will be coming as a shocker for most of you. According to a recent finding by scientists at Queen’s University, sitting for prolonged hours is now as dangerous to the health as smoking is. A simple equation to illustrate this fact is shown below:

Prolonged sitting time = smoking ( where both affect health).

According to the web article published by the university’s website,

“it is now believed that sitting for long periods of time is linked to increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and even early death, and could be just as big a threat to public health, if not more so, than smoking”.

Taking a look at the above quote, these words stand out for me: heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even early death. I find this hard to believe and it is serious because these researches are part of a consortium that received €4.5 million European grant to help tackle sedentary behaviour and increase physical activity in older people. You don’t just give away huge sums of money to a cause if it does not solve a great problem.

Researches from powerhouse countries such as Germany, Spain, and France will partake in a four-year study with Queen’s staff but first, the scientists at Queen’s will develop effective ways to sit less and become more active before rolling out to over 1300 people.

I am excited about this study and will want to see the results as Dr Mark Tully, from the UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health at Queen’s University, heads the team in Northern Ireland.  According to the article, “One of the biggest threats to health is the amount of time spent sitting. On average people spend over nine hours, or up to 80 per cent of their waking day, sitting down”.

This also is very fascinating to me as public scientists have seen the need to develop methods for addressing high levels of inactivity. It might interest you to know that Sitting is now considered the NEW SMOKING as adults who spend most of their time sitting were 50% more likely to die compared to those that sat less.

For pregnant women, this one is for you. It was quoted in the article that mothers who sat more during pregnancies were likely to have heavier babies compared to those who did not and also, poor kidney function was linked to men who sat more at work.

Let’s all wait for this study, keep our fingers crossed, and see the methods they identify as effective that will help our ageing society make +ve changes to live a better life. It will then be rolled out through the health system as stated in the article. Some suggestions to help people become more active at work as stated in the article are:

  • treadmill and
  • height adjustable desks.
Dr Mark Tully using a treadmill at work
Dr Mark Tully with his treadmill desk at work.

The head of the study, Dr Mark Tully simply practising what he preaches. I think this goes to show you that this is a very important issue to him. I don’t know what changes you will be making to the way you sat at work but few simple changes might help.

My top suggestions for solving this problem are:

  1. using an adjustable chair or table
  2. going for a health course on posture during work. I think the NHS organises one but I am not sure.
  3. regularly stretching your legs when sitting at your desk
  4. taking a break for 5 minutes stretch break for lets say every hour you work

You can come up with your own and I think your main aim should be to try and reduce sitting for prolonged hours.

Share your thoughts and comments below.

Over and out,


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Inspired by a life goal to influence the next generation of thought leaders, Nyemahame started this website & he wants to see people achieve their highest potential.