A New Perspective on Sitting?

In this TEDx video, inventor Kep Taiz talks about the health risks associated with prolonged sitting. I don’t agree with the title of the video but his very creative solutions to enable movement got me smiling and then asking myself if he was onto something. He discusses some of the mortality figures associated with prolonged sitting. There is an emerging evidence base about the potential health associations of this type of behaviour (e.g see Appendix).

There is a suggestion that with the rise of civilisation, hunter gathering and agricultural roles have been taken over by specialised segments of society and with the rise of office based environments, automated transport and home based entertainment an increased proportion of time is spent sitting. Has the genome had time to adapt to this environmental modification in the last 12,000 years? If there hasn’t been time to adapt then perhaps there is a need for further environmental modification to more closely resemble the properties of the environment we are optimally adapted to.

Could enabling aerobic exercise during workflow be health promoting? I remember reading about an imaging study in which there was found to be reduced blood flow to the frontal lobes during running (although studies such as this show that the relationship might be more complicated). This might be expected to impair some types of cognitive abilities during the running activity although that would require further testing.

There is certainly a case for seeing whether these types of solutions are effective and utilising them in research studies to investigate the effects on metabolic parameters as well as on medium term health outcomes. However the use of these types of solutions might also need a cultural shift but the population benefits could be promising.

Appendix – Other Resources on this Site

Possible dangers of sitting: A short film.

The possible dangers of prolonged sitting

Another paper on the possible dangers of sitting

Index: There are indices for the TAWOP site here and here Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. Responses: If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.


  1. […] I have been interested in the relationship between Mediterranean Diet and Dementia which has led me to the Seven Countries Study – the first study to characterise the diet and the health benefits. One of the papers linked to the study involved US railroad workers and is freely available here. The research team included Dr Ancel Keys (see citation in Appendix B). Although my main question was about Dementia, this study asked about the health effects of sitting behaviour which I have written about previously in several posts. […]


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