by Brian Andrews

If you’re a writer, then you probably sit behind a computer pretty much all day. It turns out, my friends, that this is a big problem for your health, your posture, and your mental well-being. Are you curious why, then get up out of your chair and read this article.

Sitting is the New Smoking

Lots of studies have been done recently on the impact of living a sedentary lifestyle and the negative effects of prolonged sitting. Instead of quoting medical journals, I’ll just hit the highlights:

  • Prolonged sitting is associated with the an increased risk for over 30 chronic diseases including diabetes, obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease, deep vein thrombosis, Alzheimers, kidney disease, and metabolic syndrome.
  • Prolonged sitting negatively impacts our posture, creates back pain, and promotes muscle and ligament shortening and tightness which causes joint pain.
  • People who sit longer than 6 hours a day uninterrupted are 40% more likely to die prematurely in the next 15 years.

Okay, too much sitting is bad, but I don’t sit that much do I?

You probably sit many more hours than you think you do. Don’t believe me, take a look at this breakdown and see if it might mirror your average day. I was shocked how quickly the sitting hours add up.


Eat Breakfast – Sit at table for 15 minutes

Drive to Work – Sit in car for 15 minutes

Morning Office Work – Sit at desk for 3 hours

Eat Lunch – Sit at table for 30 minutes

Afternoon Office Work – Sit at desk for 4.5 hours

Drive Home – Sit in Car for 15 minutes

Eat Dinner – Sit at table for 45 minutes

Relax by Watching TV – Sit on sofa for 2 hours

Grand Total Time Sitting: 11  1/2 hours!


The more I write, the more my back hurts

The most observable impact on my life after becoming a full time writer was negative impact on my posture. Not only did I begin to develop hunched rounded shoulders and “nerd neck,” I also developed a posterior pelvic tilt and terrible back pain from weak glutes and tight hip flexors. To combat these things, I ultimately ended up in physical therapy and had to make some important changes to my writing set-up and routine. The following five tips are things you can and should consider to combat “sitting disease.”

TIP #1:  Raise your monitor to the proper height.

If you write on a notebook computer in your lap, like the woman in the picture on the header graphic, then stop! Ideally, you want your computer monitor to be elevated so that you can sit upright in your chair with good posture while you’re typing. Your head should be in a natural position (chin parallel to the floor) with your eyes looking straight ahead. I’m tall, so I needed to purchase a monitor stand to elevate my screen an additional 3 inches on my desk. You buy either fixed or adjustable monitor stands on Amazon for very economical prices.

TIP #2:  Get up and move to break up prolonged periods of sitting.

Research indicates the best way to combat the effects of sitting is (shocker) to get up and move. My research shows that most medical professionals advise getting up and moving around every 20-40 minutes. Surprisingly, you don’t have to move that much to see a positive impact. In other words, it’s not a 1:1 ratio. Just a few minutes of movement and stretching to get the blood flow that’s pooled in your extremities moving is beneficial.

I wear my Apple Watch while I write and it prompts me to stand and move when I’ve been sedentary too long.

TIP #3:  Consider investing in a sit/stand desk or desktop riser

A Sit/Stand desk is a desk that the entire table top can be raised or lowered so that you can work either standing up or sitting down. A sit/stand riser is less expensive and rests on top of an existing desk, but serves the same function of elevating your computer and keyboard to a height where you can work standing up.


Sit/Stand Riser vs. Sit/Stand Desk

TIP #4:  Make stretching part of your daily routine

Why reinvent the wheel when there’s an expert on this topic I can direct you too. Physical therapist and strength coach Jeff Cavaliere has a great video on this very topic that has been a life changer for me. See it here:



TIP #5:  Make exercise part of your daily routine.

Even if all you do is take a 15 minute walk around your neighborhood or apartment complex this will dramatically combat the effects of sitting. When we walk, we lengthen our hip flexors, exercise our glutes, and (hopefully) stand up straight. Also, exercise is a great way to work off stress, clear the mind, and stimulate endorphins. If your level of health permits, consider adding some strength training or yoga into the mix. My personal journey with improving my health and making fitness part of my life has taught me that taking time away from my writing to exercise my body, actually makes me a more productive writer when I’m working because I’m healthier, happier, any feeling good about myself.

This wasn’t a typical Career Author’s post (no craft or publishing tips today) but your health matters! Let us know what you thought of this and whether you’d like to see more life-style posts like this from us by commenting on Facebook!