Home > NewsRelease > Stop Sitting: 32% Pandemic Decrease in Moving Linked to Anxiety, Depression, Stress, Loneliness…
Stop Sitting: 32% Pandemic Decrease in Moving Linked to Anxiety, Depression, Stress, Loneliness…
Madelaine Claire Weiss, LICSW, MBA, BCC -- MIndOverMatters Madelaine Claire Weiss, LICSW, MBA, BCC -- MIndOverMatters
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Washington, DC
Monday, November 15, 2021


Table of Contents

What’s Wrong With Sitting

It’s not just mental health but there’s a really long list of physical problems associated with sitting too much:

  • Large leg and butt muscle weakening, can result in more falls and strains
  • Bowel dysfunction
  • Weight gain and metabolic syndrome
  • Back and hip joint compression and degeneration
  • Varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis (clots)
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Cancer, e.g., lung, uterine, colon
  • Diabetes, 112% higher risk for sitters
  • Heart disease, 147% higher risk for sitters

Yikes. And what am I doing right now? Yeah, I’m sitting, which is how I love to write, with the laptop, well…on my lap.

There is something about sitting that I love. Rafael Leonardo (my Havanese puppy) doesn’t sit like I do. Only when he wants something. Then. He sits and stares to make it happen.

Animals in general don’t sit as much as we do. And why humans like to sit so much was nowhere to be found, not by me anyway, on the internet. So, if any of you know why humans sit so much do tell.

For now, I am just going to guess that sitting helped us to survive and thrive as a species because it’s the best of both worlds between lying down and standing. That is, sitting conserves energy (25%) at the same time that it keeps us upright enough to jump into action a lot quicker and easier than if we were lying down. That’s good but, as with most things, too much of this good thing could become not good at all.

Iowa State University researchers found that people who continued their pandemic related more sedentary lifestyles, even as the pandemic began to ease, were found to suffer more anxiety, depression, stress and loneliness than the ones who began to get up and move.

What’s Good About Moving

Here is a piece I wrote in August on a finding that 3 weeks of exercise lowered depression. I commented then that, since participants were exercising with others, it wasn’t clear how much of the improvement was physical and how much social. We can say, however, that the combination of the physical and social seemed to for the trick for a lot of folks.

Another nice combo is walking and nature. The Japanese call it “Forest Therapy,” and the research on the positive impact of a nice walk in the woods on both mood and physical vigor is promising.

But it’s not just that we move—but how we move—that can impact our mood and, therefore, overall well-being. It is as if “Acting Happy Can Make It So,” with a little more deliberate pep put in your step.

This applies for smiling too. Smiling is a movement too, a small one maybe, but a whole lot better for your mind and body than just sitting there for hours on end with a ‘bitchy resting face’ on.

Other Alternatives To Sitting

Studies of more than 1 million people found that, unless we are engaging in 60-75 minutes of moderately intense physical activity a day, sitting for 8 hours a day was as lethal as obesity and smoking.

Although it is not clear exactly what accounts for the positive effects above, e.g., is it the physical or is it the social, is it the walk or is it the trees, does our gait determine our mood or does our mood determine our gait…

Doesn’t matter. Too many of us sit too much, and there are better ways to spend our days. The Mayo Clinic recommends:

  • Take a break from sitting every 30 minutes.
  • Stand while talking on the phone or watching television.
  • If you work at a desk, try a standing desk — or improvise with a high table or counter.
  • Walk with your colleagues for meetings rather than sitting in a conference room.
  • Position your work surface above a treadmill — with a computer screen and keyboard on a stand or a specialized treadmill-ready vertical desk — so that you can be in motion throughout the day.

And, as more than an aside, for those of you who may meditate in a sitting position, if you care to, you can meditate while walking too. Instructions here. Different strokes for different folks, for sure. But, for anyone who isn’t, let us just move.

Warm wishes,


News Media Interview Contact
Name: Madelaine Claire Weiss
Group: MindOverMatters, LLC
Dateline: Washington, DC United States
Direct Phone: 202-285-8644
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