2 secrets to staying healthy when you sit too much

We all know staying sedentary is bad for you. It puts you at risk for heart disease, cancer, stroke, depression and more.

But what if you’re stuck being sedentary because of work?

It’s a problem many of us face — office workers, delivery drivers, academics, freelance writers (cough, cough). We’re all stuck sitting for eight hours per day. Sometimes longer.

And I’ll admit, I spend my fair share of free time binge-watching Netflix shows and surfing the web too. Nobody’s perfect

So, is there any way for us sedentary folks to stay healthy without giving up our livelihood or our love for high-quality TV programming?

Yes. A new study shows there’s hope… even for those of us who are sedentary a lot of the time. We can still be healthy, as long as we have two things… strength and fitness.

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Good fitness and grip strength means less health risks

A study from researchers at Glasgow University in the UK found that even if you spend much of your free time keeping the couch warm, you can still be healthy. You just need to keep your fitness level high and your grip strong.

Researchers looked at data from 391,089 people, including mortality rates, cardiovascular disease and cancer rates, screen time, grip strength and fitness level. And they found that the negative health effects of being sedentary were two times as bad for people who had a low grip strength and a low fitness level.

Now, sedentary people with high grip strength and fitness levels still dealt with somewhat elevated health risks. So, it’s always better to be active than to be sedentary.

But increasing your strength and fitness could be one way to offset the negative health effects of spending a large amount of time sitting in front of a screen.

How to get strong… while staying sedentary

Now, I know what you’re thinking…

Isn’t it impossible to stay fit and strong if you’re sedentary most of the day?

And I’m here to tell you that it takes far less time to be fit and strong than you think.

If you can squeeze in one 30-minute workout that combines cardio and strength training per day, you can spend your other 23 hours and 30 minutes per day sitting, watching TV, sleeping, etc. and still not be that bad off in the fitness department. A little exercise goes a long way.

So, give up one or two episodes of your favorite sitcom and do a quick workout each day. The TV will still be there when you’re finished. And then you can enjoy your TV time knowing that you’re not putting your health in jeopardy.

Editor’s note: While you’re doing all the right things to protect your brain as you age, make sure you don’t make the mistake 38 million Americans do every day — by taking a drug that robs them of an essential brain nutrient! Click here to discover the truth about the Cholesterol Super-Brain!


  1. Health Risks of an Inactive Lifestyle — MedlinePlus. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  2. Time spent sitting at a screen matters less if you are fit and strong — MedicalXpress. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  3. A. Celis-Morales, et al. “Associations of discretionary screen time with mortality, cardiovascular disease and cancer are attenuated by strength, fitness and physical activity: findings from the UK Biobank study.” — BMC Medicine, 2018.
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.