Understanding the negative health consequences of a physical inactivity has been the topic of much investigation as an alarming number of adults have adopted a sedentary lifestyle. With the rise in sedentarism the field of inactivity physiology has emerged. The goal of inactivity physiology is to identify the impact in inactivity on health and develop strategies that effectively minimize the risk of a sedentary lifestyle. Arising from this field is the finding that excessive sitting is linked to increased cardiovascular and metabolic disease and all-cause mortality. Most importantly, these relationships exist even in individuals that are physically active. Clearly, excessive sitting is an occupational hazard with significant health consequences. Through a series of investigations, including research published this issue of Clinical Science, Padilla and colleagues have identified that prolonged sitting evokes vascular dysfunction and that this dysfunction is caused by reduced shear stress. This commentary highlights this series of investigations and culminates with an overview of how prior exercise and standing are effective strategies to circumvent vascular dysfunction that is caused by excessive sitting.

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