How much exercise will make up for 10 or more hours of sitting? | Resource | Baptist Health in South Florida (2023)

Written by:John Fernandez

Publication: December 28, 2022


Sitting too long or being sedentary for up to 10 hours a day can increase your risk of chronic diseases, including high cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar, all risk factors linked to the leading cause of death in the United States: heart diseases.

An analysis of nine previous studies concluded that 30 to 40 minutes a day of "moderate to vigorous physical activity" is a good cure for sitting for 10 hours or more every day. The studies involved a total of 44,370 people in four different countries who were using some form of fitness tracker.

Sedentary living has been a bigger concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many adults are transitioning from the office to working from home. The analysis, published inbritish journal of sports medicine, found that the risk of death increased in those with a more sedentary lifestyle, as their physical activity decreased from "moderate to vigorous intensity."

Research based on fitness trackers aligns with new World Health Organization guidelines, which recommend 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week to counter sedentary behaviors. The American Heart Association (AHA) also recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week, or a combination of both.

The best examples of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise include brisk walking at a speed of at least 2.5 miles per hour or biking at less than 10 miles per hour, says the AHA. Examples of intense intensity include walking, jogging, jogging, or biking at 10 miles per hour or faster.

"Our credo is 'never slow down,' even for people in their 70s and 80s," he said.Dr. Mark Caruso, internal medicine physician at Baptist Health Primary Care. “We are big advocates of exercise for people of all ages. As you age, cross training (both aerobic and weight training) promotes bone health and prevents osteoporosis."

In addition to aerobic activity, the AHA recommends moderate to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity (for example, resistance or weights) at least 2 days a week.

A checkup and consultation with your GP are the first steps in determining how much exercise you really need. Before making an exercise recommendation, your doctor will consider several factors, including your weight, blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and any underlying medical conditions.

Dr. Caruso goes beyond the AHA guidelines of five days a week for patients with low HDL (the good cholesterol). HDL cholesterol levels below 40 mg/dL are considered low.

"As cardio progresses, so does HDL," Dr. Caruso said. "I asked several people to exercise six or seven days a week to lower their cholesterol to 40 mg/dL."

Here is an overview of recommended physical activity for adults fromAmerican Heart Association:

  • Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of both, preferably spread out throughout the week.
  • Include moderate to high intensity muscle-strengthening activities (eg, resistance or weights) at least 2 days per week.
  • Spend less time sitting. Even low-intensity activities can offset some of the risks of sitting.
  • Get even more benefits by being active for at least 300 minutes (5 hours) a week.
  • Gradually increase the amount and intensity over time.


Does standing for 10 hours count as exercise? ›

Standing doesn't count as exercise, and, unlike running or cycling, there is there is no evidence that simply standing at work improves cardiovascular health. In fact, the latest science suggests a lack of exercise, not sitting at work, might be the bigger health problem overall.

What happens if you sit for 10 hours? ›

Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns. They include obesity and a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and unhealthy cholesterol levels — that make up metabolic syndrome.

How much exercise should you do sitting for an hour? ›

The study goes on to recommend that those who sit daily for an average of eight hours should try to exercise one hour per day, while those who sit 6 or less should aim for half an hour of exercise. “You don't need to do sport, you don't need to go to the gym.

How many hours of sitting is considered sedentary? ›

Even if you are doing enough physical activity, sitting for more than 7 to 10 hours a day is bad for your health. There is evidence that spending a lot of time being sedentary is linked to an increase in health problems such as: being overweight or obese.

Is standing all day considered sedentary? ›

But is standing alone enough? The MET of standing is only slightly above what is considered sedentary activity by the SBRN. A study measuring the effects of standing showed that passive standing alone does not significantly increase heart rate and energy expenditure above rest.

Does standing up all day count as exercise? ›

But this new research suggests that standing may be an effective form of exercise to add to this mix. Why is standing good for you? Researchers think it's because standing exercises muscles in your abdomen, butt and legs that are necessary to keep you upright for an extended period.

How much exercise should I do if I sit all day? ›

An analysis of nine previous studies has concluded that 30 to 40 minutes per day of "moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity" is a good remedy for sitting for 10 hours or more daily.

How long does it take to reverse sedentary lifestyle? ›

As you get older, it takes longer to recover from a sedentary state. That said, Dr. Correlius says will take about eight to 10 weeks of consistent workouts to reverse the deconditioning.

How often should you get up when sitting? ›

But when you are sitting down for long periods, try to break it up. A common sense rule of thumb is to get up for five minutes every half hour.”

How do you counteract 8 hours of sitting? ›

Walking. Walk, walk, and walk some more. Walking is great for you, and it's an ideal type of movement to offset sitting, so take the opportunity whenever you can. Many people can greatly increase the incidental physical activity they accumulate throughout the week just by making small tweaks in their daily routine.

Is it OK to sit for 12 hours? ›

"Sitting increases your risk of death, regardless of whether you exercise or not. If you sat for over 12 hours on a given day, your risk of death increased substantially," study author, Dr. Keith Diaz at Columbia University Medical Center said. Dr.

What muscles get tight from sitting? ›

“Sitting all day will make the front of your body tighten up—especially your hip flexors, rectus femoris (a quad muscle), pectoralis (chest), upper traps (upper back), and anterior scalenes (the front of your neck),” explains David Reavy, a Chicago-based orthopedic physical therapist at React Physical Therapy.

How long should I walk if I sit all day? ›

To reduce the harmful health effects of sitting, take a five-minute light walk every half-hour. That's the key finding of a new study that my colleagues and I published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

How do I get active again after being sedentary? ›

Simple ways to move more every day
  1. Walk for five minutes every two hours.
  2. Get up and walk around or march in place during TV commercials.
  3. Do a few sets of heel raises, where you stand on your toes. ...
  4. Always stand or walk around when you're on the phone.
  5. Do a set or two of push-ups against the kitchen counter.
May 24, 2018

How much sitting is too much? ›

But when experts analyze the handfuls of studies examining the effects of prolonged sitting, the data shows that sitting for more than eight hours a day can have a serious impact on a person's health.

What's worse standing or sitting all day? ›

More calories burned: One study showed that standing sheds 88 calories an hour, compared to 80 calories for sitting. Walking burns a lot more -- 210 calories an hour. Less back pain: Sitting for long periods of time tightens your muscles and can hurt your lower back, especially if you have bad posture.

Can you exercise and still be sedentary? ›

Even those working out can spend most of their day sedentary, leading to impaired health and fitness.

Will my legs get used to standing all day? ›

While your body can become accustomed to the feeling of standing, that doesn't mean that it isn't straining your body. Be sensitive to your body's needs and know your limits.

Is standing up better than walking? ›

Though standing definitely is a better habit than sitting, walking is better than standing. For an average adult, standing would burn about 190 calories in an hour while sitting would only burn 130 and would also contribute to fat storage. On the other hand, walking can burn up to 320 calories in the same time.

Do your legs get stronger from standing? ›

It strengthens leg muscles and improves balance. It burns more calories than sitting. It is also a great antidote to the formation of blood clots deep in the legs. When you sit for long periods, blood flow slows through the legs.

What should I eat if I sit all day? ›

10 Healthy Foods to Eat If You Sit All Day in The Office
  • Berries. If you love fruit, Berries make a perfect food for your type of lifestyle. ...
  • Nuts. Nuts give you a good supply of omega-3 fatty acids that are also helpful against inflammation. ...
  • Olive Oil. ...
  • Pineapple. ...
  • Turmeric. ...
  • Garlic. ...
  • Avocado. ...
  • Green Tea.
Oct 28, 2018

How can I strengthen my core while sitting? ›

Sit tall in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and palms on top of your thighs. From here, gently press your right palm down into your right thigh while pressing your thigh up into your palm. Press firmly enough that you feel your abs tighten. Hold for a few breaths, then release and repeat on the opposite side.

How long does it take to regain strength after inactivity? ›

According to the research of pro bodybuilder Jeff Nippard, the timeframe to get your muscle gains back is typically around half the time you took off. So, if you had a 2-month break from lifting, it might take just a month to get all of your gains back.

How do I get back in shape after being deconditioned? ›

Try to weave in ways to be active throughout you day, like walking and climbing stairs. Do body-weight workouts. You don't need a gym to exercise, instead use your own body weight as resistance for strength training.

What are the best exercises for a sedentary person? ›

Type: Aerobic exercise, such as walking (outside or on a treadmil) and biking (upright or recumbant bike with minimal resistance), is recommended for someone just beginning.

How do you recover years after sitting? ›

If a standing desk isn't an option, take five-minute breaks from sitting every 30 to 45 minutes. Stand up and walk around a bit. Maybe even perform a few of the exercises below. Even if you have a standing desk, you should still take breaks every now and then for some movement.

Can sitting too much cause neuropathy? ›

Can I Get Nerve Damage From Sitting Too Much? You won't feel the effects overnight, but the answer is yes. Sitting for long periods of time can slowly damage your nerves. In a recent study, researchers found that 70% of participants had lower physical activities today than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic.

How do you recover from sitting disease? ›

Standing and walking actually do very well to combat the many health concerns associated with sitting disease. If you alternate between sitting and standing for intervals of 30-minutes, you actually optimize your body for a better metabolic state, which encourages over all health and well being.

How long is too long to sit down? ›

“Persons with uninterrupted sedentary bouts of 30 minutes or more had the highest risk for death if total sedentary time also exceeded 12.5 hours per day,” noted Alter.

How often should you get up and walk after sitting? ›

Remember to move for approximately three minutes every 30 – 60 minutes. Why? Research shows that staying stationary – whether sitting or standing – for long periods of time, can be bad for your health. Our bodies are built to move and doing so for approximately three minutes every hour helps us feel our best.

Is it healthier to sit up or lay down? ›

Sleeping upright is neither inherently healthy nor unhealthy. As long as you're able to rest comfortably and get enough sleep, the upright position might be the best option. Some people live with medical conditions that make sitting up more comfortable for sleeping.

Can you get weak legs from sitting too much? ›

Weak Legs and Glutes

By sitting all day, you're not depending on your powerful lower body muscles to hold you up. This leads to muscle atrophy, which is the weakening of these muscles. Without strong leg and glute muscles to stabilize you, your body is at risk of injury.

What is the best position to sit for long hours? ›

Sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back. Your buttocks should touch the back of your chair. All 3 normal back curves should be present while sitting. You can use a small, rolled-up towel or a lumbar roll to help maintain the normal curves in your back.

Will 30 minutes of exercise a day make a difference? ›

30 Minutes of Exercise Can Significantly Improve Your Health

Yes, it is! Most people think that if they can only fit in 30 minutes of exercise it won't be enough, especially compared to a 45-minute spin class or a 1-hour yoga class. However, 30 minutes of exercise is more than enough time to get in a great workout.

Why do I have trouble walking after sitting? ›

It is not uncommon to feel 'wobbly' or unsteady on your feet after sitting for a long period. It can be due to reduced blood flow, tight muscles and ligaments, fluid pooled in the body's lower extremities, or pins and needles sensations in the feet.

Is it true if you sit for 11 hours a day? ›

Adults who sit 11 or more hours per day have a 40 percent increased risk of dying in the next 3 years, compared with those who sat for fewer than 4 hours a day, according to a study led by the University of Sydney. This was after taking into account their physical activity, weight and health status.

What muscles hurt when sitting too much? ›

Over time, being stuck sitting in a bent position on a daily basis—from your desk at work to your couch at home—shortens your hip flexors, a group of muscles located at the front of your hips, causing pain. Tight hip flexors also contribute to lower back soreness, another common complaint.

How do you stretch your hips for sitting all day? ›

Sitting upright in your chair, cross your right ankle over your left knee. Flex your right foot, and feel a stretch in your right glute and outer hip. If you don't feel a stretch, slowly hinge forward at your waist and lean into the right hip. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch sides.

What are the health effects of too much sitting? ›

Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns. They include obesity and a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and unhealthy cholesterol levels — that make up metabolic syndrome.

How long does it take for a sedentary person to get in shape? ›

And if you exercise regularly, over time you will gain even more fitness benefits. “At 6 to 8 weeks, you can definitely notice some changes,” said Logie, “and in 3 to 4 months you can do a pretty good overhaul to your health and fitness.”

Is it better to walk all day or sit all day? ›

If you stand or move around during the day, you have a lower risk of early death than if you sit at a desk. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, you have a higher chance of being overweight, developing type 2 diabetes or heart disease, and experiencing depression and anxiety.

How do I regain strength after being bedridden? ›

Walk throughout your house or apartment often throughout the day. Sit in a chair or on the side of a bed and reach up toward the ceiling and down toward your toes. Make sure that you are breathing throughout the movement and moving slowly, without rushing. Repeat 10 times.

How much exercise does a sedentary person need? ›

The research findings based on fitness trackers closely align with new World Health Organization guidelines, which recommend 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity, or 75-150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity, every week to counter sedentary behavior.

What happens if you stand for 10 hours a day? ›

Prolonged and frequent standing, without some relief by walking, causes blood to pool in the legs and feet. This pooling may progress over time to chronic and painful varicose veins and inflammation. Excessive standing also causes the joints in the spine, hips, knees, and feet to become temporarily immobilized.

Do you lose weight standing 10 hours? ›

The researchers found that standing burned 0.15 calories (kcals) per minute more than sitting. By substituting standing for sitting for six hours a day, a 143.3-pound adult would expend an extra 54 calories (kcals) in six hours.

Does standing for 10 hours burn calories? ›

One study showed that adults who weigh 143 pounds burn 0.15 more calories a minute when standing versus sitting. If you stand for six hours per day instead of sitting, you burn around 54 additional calories. While this may not seem like much, it adds up to five and a half pounds per year.

How many calories do you burn standing for 10 hours a day? ›

When you stand, you burn anywhere from 100 to 200 calories an hour. It all depends on your sex, age, height, and weight. Sitting, by comparison, only burns 60 to 130 calories an hour.

What are the side effects of standing all day? ›

Standing for too long can cause a myriad of health complications and uncomfortable effects, including issues like:
  • Exhaustion and fatigue;
  • Leg cramps;
  • Backache;
  • Bunions and corns;
  • Plantar fasciitis; and.
  • Excess pressure on the joints.

How do I recover from standing all day? ›

Preferably, spread them out throughout the day to provide your body with the release and breaks it needs to keep going.
  1. 1) Foam roll or tennis ball. ...
  2. 2) Stretch. ...
  3. 3) Elevate your feet. ...
  4. 4) Invert your body. ...
  5. 5) Compress your calves. ...
  6. 6) Soak your feet. ...
  7. 7) Get a massage.

Does standing strengthen your legs? ›

Standing is better for the back than sitting. It strengthens leg muscles and improves balance. It burns more calories than sitting. It is also a great antidote to the formation of blood clots deep in the legs.

How many calories should I eat if I sit all day? ›

Sedentary. For someone taking less than 5,000 steps per day, needs fall as low as 1,600 calories per day for a woman and 1,800 calories for a man.

Which sitting position is best for weight loss? ›

Sit Up Straight

Plus, sitting up straight with your shoulder back and your abs tight—compared to slouching at your desk—requires engaging more muscles and can burn a few more calories.

Why do my feet hurt from standing 10 hours? ›

Your body has to work hard to move blood and fluids up your legs and back to your heart when you're standing all day, as it must work against gravity. This can create problems with circulation, resulting in swelling and in the feet and legs, as well as varicose veins and other vein problems.

How do you survive standing for 10 hours? ›

7 tips for prolonged standing
  1. Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes with a low heel. ...
  2. Wear support hose or socks. ...
  3. Wear a lumbar support belt and strengthen your abs. ...
  4. Maintain good posture. ...
  5. Move around to aid in circulation. ...
  6. Stay well hydrated. ...
  7. Ergonomic aids.
Jul 11, 2013

How many calories do you burn in a day without exercise? ›

On average, a person will burn at least 1800 calories a day without exercise. To lose weight, you must be in a calorie deficit. Caffeine supplements can help you achieve this state by boosting your BMR to promote fat burning.

Does walking burn more calories than sitting? ›

Being More Active Burns More Calories

Here is a comparison of different activities and how many calories a 170-pound (77 kilograms) person can burn in an hour. Standing burns more calories than sitting (186 calories vs. 139 calories). Walking at a moderate pace burns more calories than standing (324 calories vs.

Does sitting burn more calories than lying down? ›

As a group, the volunteers burned about 3 percent more calories when sitting compared to lying down and about 12 percent more standing compared to sitting.

What is the quickest way to burn calories? ›

Running is the winner for most calories burned per hour. Stationary bicycling, jogging, and swimming are excellent options as well. HIIT exercises are also great for burning calories. After a HIIT workout, your body will continue to burn calories for up to 24 hours.

Is standing for 9 hours good for you? ›

As much as prolonged sitting is harmful to your heart, so is prolonged standing. When you stand for too long, your blood tends to pool in your legs, unable to properly circulate around the body. In effect, the veins have to work doubly hard to distribute the blood evenly to parts that need it.


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