The Sitting Disease

posted on November 16, 2018

“The term “Sitting Disease” is commonly used when referring to the ill-effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle.”


AKA me. At a desk. All the time.


When I started work at the age of 18, the effects of being sat down staring at a screen all day hit me almost instantly. Increased fatigue, backache, weight gain, postural issues… and this was the exact reason that I decided to start going to the gym more regularly.

Over the years I found that simply ‘exercising’ didn’t address the effects of the sitting disease directly, and actually in some ways it just heightened the negative effects.

For example, hunched shoulders and a weak lower back are not counter-acted simply by ‘doing some squats’. And actually, doing squats with hunched shoulders and a weak lower back is actually a great way to cause yourself an injury.

People suffering from the sitting disease really need a tailored plan which is separate from their core exercise routine, which addresses functional and postural issues which could be caused from a sedentary lifestyle. Like a ‘Gearing Our Bodies Up For Exercise’ plan.

With that being said, a recent study described office workers who are physically active outside of work but sedentary during working hours as “Active Couch Potatoes” (ACP). Study author Dr Alexander Mussap said; “There is a common yet incorrect belief that prolonged workplace sitting is not problematic if a person is physically active during their recreational time.”

So in summary, even if we do our ‘Gearing Our Bodies Up For Exercise’ plan, AND our core gym training plan, our health is still at risk if we sit down for the best part of our day.

I take as many measures as possible to ensure I’m active throughout the day, but I get how difficult this is for people who work in an office. This mainly involves drinking plenty of water so I can make regular trips to the toilet, and making sure I get up eat my lunch somewhere else instead of at my desk. Some other ideas include;


  • A brisk lunchtime walk
  • Encouraging others to join you on a brisk lunchtime walk
  • Trying to encourage active behaviours in the workplace such as lunch time workouts or walking meetings