There are two kinds of people – couch potatoes and workaholics. Unfortunately, both live a sedentary lifestyle which doesn’t do much good for health. Not only is lack of physical activity linked to a number of health problems such as arthritis, chronic pain, and stroke risk but consistent sitting is also harmful.

Staying seated for long hours can increase the risk of diabetes type 2, constrict blood flow, cause thrombosis, and cancer as well. Above all, no exercise and too much sitting can chip in obesity which is also associated to a number of ailments.

Unfortunately, a study published in the JAMA journal shows that Americans are sitting more than ever now. Compared to 2016, teens and adults stayed seated for an additional hour in 2017. Meanwhile another report published in the Journal of applied Physiology found that sitting all day long also cancels the benefits of exercise.

Most people spend time sitting in front of their television screen, watching Netflix. A huge chunk of the population also sits more because of work-related obligations. But are the effects of both types of sitting the same? A new study suggests that not all types of sitting are equal.

According to this research, while sitting overall is health-harming, leisurely sitting is more damaging for cardiovascular health than occupational sitting. This work has been published in the Journal of American Heart Association, conducted by researchers for the Vagelos College of Physicians with Columbia University’s surgeons.

Findings Of This New Research

Participants who enrolled in the Jackson Heart Study who had information about their health and lifestyle collected for 8.5 years were also involved in this study. Their data was analyzed, and the following conclusions were drawn:

  • Leisurely sitting for 4 or more hours increased cardiovascular disease and early death risk by 50% compared to those who sat at home for 2 or less hours
  • Additional hours spent sitting at work didn’t increase the risk of heart disease or premature death
  • The effects of long hours spent in leisurely sitting can be combated by 150 minutes of exercise per week

Why The Difference?

There is a marked difference in the risk of health problems caused by leisurely sitting and occupational sitting. But why is it so? Researchers think this is because while watching TV at home we don’t move about a lot and stay seated constantly.

Meanwhile at work, people tend to leave their desk often be it for a lunch break or another reason. Another research that was recently published in the American Journal of Epidemiology had found that 30 minutes of exercise can combat the effects of sitting.


Staying seated for long hours is not recommended for health. On the other hand, exercising is great for heart health, respiratory health, cognitive functionality, muscles as well as bones. This is why, regardless of how busy one is he must take out time for physical activity.

However, it is also important to note here that not all types of sitting are equal. While occupational sitting is harmful, leisurely sitting is even more so as per a new study.