Excessive sitting can increase your health risks.

You’ve probably heard sitting is the new smoking, but do you know why?

If you exercise regularly, it’s probably hard to imagine the problem. Regular exercise lowers your health risks as well as your specific health risks related to sitting for prolonged periods. 

However, if you’re not getting in your 10,000 steps daily or exercising on a regular basis, you’re likely sitting or lying around too much. Your body may feel achy and sore from the lack of movement and unfortunately, your health risks for obesity, cancer and other medical issues goes up.

Three health risks related to inactivity

1/ Deep Vein Thrombosis [DVT]

DVT occurs when a blood clot [thrombus] forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body. It can be deadly if left undiagnosed or untreated because the clot can break loose and move to your lungs causing a pulmonary embolism.

Risk Factors: There are several risk factors and the more factors you have, the greater your health risk.

  • Sitting for long periods of time
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
  • Age > 60
  • Cancer and some cancer treatments
  • Injury or surgery
  • Prolonged bed rest
  • Blood-clotting disorder
  • Heart Failure
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • History of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism


Damage to your veins from the blood clots reduces blood flow in the affected areas which can cause:

  • Edema *
  • Leg pain
  • Skin discoloration
  • Skin sores

2/ Edema

Edema is persistent swelling caused by excess fluid trapped in your body’s tissues.

Risk Factors:

Edema can be a result of DVT. It can also be caused by a severe protein deficiency, medications or underlying diseases affecting your heart, kidney, liver and lymphatic system.


Edema can be painful and make it difficult to even walk. It can also cause scarring, skin issues, decreased blood circulation as well as increased risk of skin ulcers.

3/ Lymphedema

Lymphedema is also caused by swelling. However, the swelling results from a blockage in your lymphatic system that prevents lymph fluid from draining. It most often occurs after cancer treatment.

While there are a few risk factors, obesity is probably the highest risk factor. Changes in the body due to obesity can also cause breast and prostate cancers to spread.

Risk factors for lymphadema

There are three risk factors:

1/ Age

2/ Excess weight or obesity

3/ Rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis


Unfortunately, there is no cure for lymphedema. Early diagnosis and prevention is best because it has several levels of acuity that can impair quality of life.

If you are at risk:

1/ Protect your arm or leg

2/ Rest your arm or leg while recovering but still exercise and stretch.

3/ Avoid heat on your arm or leg

4/ Elevate your arm or leg

5/ Avoid tight clothing

6/ Keep your arm or leg clean

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