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Why you should change your sitting behaviour to improve your health

“Sitting is the new smoking” is a bold statement, but it does contain a grain of truth. Prolonged sitting has a negative impact on your body and health. Fortunately, with a few small adjustments, you can change your sitting behavior.

Based on the latest figures from VeiligheidNL and CBS, Dutch people sit an average of about 9.1 hours per day during weekdays. On weekends, we sit less, averaging around 8.2 hours on a chair, sofa, or stool. Surprisingly, we spend more time sitting than we do sleeping. To illustrate, according to Hersenstichting Nederland, the average sleep duration for Dutch people is 7 hours and 12 minutes.

What are the adverse effects of prolonged sitting on your health?

It’s not surprising that many of us spend so much time sitting. Almost half of the seven million working Dutch people have sedentary jobs (Allesoversport.nl, 2023). Sitting (and working) is a source of income for many, but there are several adverse health effects associated with excessive and prolonged sitting.

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According to Nederlandse Organisatie voor toegepast-natuurwetenschappelijk onderzoek (TNO)

  • There is significant evidence that prolonged sitting is associated with an increased risk of premature death. 
  • Research indicates that prolonged sitting increases the likelihood of various diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, depression, cancer, and musculoskeletal complaints.

In addition, prolonged sitting can cause back problems, as B-One trainer Rufus Corver also knows. “Even sitting still in a good posture for a long period of time is bad for your back,” he explains. “Over time, a good sitting posture becomes bad due to prolonged inactivity.” 

These small adjustments have a big impact on your sitting behavior and health

Rufus recommends moving at least once every hour. For example, walk to the tap to get a glass of water, take a short walk during breaks, or convince a colleague to do squats or jumping jacks behind your desk. How about a desk bike? This way, you stay in motion, making your sedentary job a lot less sedentary.

If you have an adjustable desk at your workplace, it’s a good idea to use tools like a Desk Height Calculator to determine your ideal work height. This ensures a proper working posture that suits your body. With such desks, you can also work standing for part of the day, significantly reducing your daily sitting time.

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And last but not least: use a stability ball. Sitting on such a ball is more active; your back muscles have to work to keep you upright. This is good for your blood circulation and can prevent physical complaints. But keep in mind that your sitting posture on the ball is good, otherwise it can even be counterproductive.

Healthier and more active living

Prolonged sitting increases the risk of back problems and various diseases, such as depression and diabetes. However, awareness and simple changes in sitting behavior can have a significant impact. Regular movement, like a short walk or even jumping jacks, is recommended to break the cycle of inactivity. Adjustable desks and stability balls offer practical solutions to improve posture and blood circulation. These small adjustments can pave the way for a healthier and more active life. 

Not only prolonged sitting is a lifestyle habit that can negatively impact your health. Each person has their own pitfalls that can affect their lives negatively. Interested in the steps you can take for a healthier life? Schedule an intake interview with B-One here. We can identify your red flags and shape your new, healthy lifestyle, even outside the gym.

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