You probably have seen the teaser in your newsfeed: “Why sitting for too long is the new smoking.” While we don’t advocate either practice, both can bring more harm than good. Whether you sit at a desk in an office or school, man a cash register or drive for hours at a time, there is no disputing the health hazards of sitting all day. Being stationary for long periods of time can lead to any number of health problems. The good news is you can take a stand against sitting, especially the more you know about the problems of sitting at your desk all day. These are just a few problems you can experience from sitting at your desk –
- Sitting deteriorates your muscles. Quite obviously, a muscle that is not used will deteriorate over time. Particularly, sitting can lead to the weakening and deterioration of the large muscles in the leg and butt – the muscles that are responsible for walking, climbing, and stabilizing. When these muscles no longer are effective, expect more injuries, strains, and longer healing times after injuries occur.
- Sitting increases your chances of weight gain. When you move, you burn calories; movement also helps you digest fats and carbohydrates. That bloated feeling you get when you sit too long? That’s your digestive function not doing its job. Movement can help.
- Sitting stresses you out. Those who sit all day are at higher risk of developing anxiety and depression. We feel good when we move, and it’s been proven that our bodies appreciate it!
- Sitting increases your cancer risk. While the exact reason is not known, studies are showing that sitting too long increases your risk of developing certain cancers, particularly, uterine, colon and lung cancers.
- Sitting affects your musculoskeletal system – most commonly your hips and back. Expect your posture to slouch and joints to become impinged. Discs can compress and your flexor muscles can shrink. Your neck will become sore as well. If your work space is not ergonomically sound, you can also expect overuse injuries, especially carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and rotator cuff injuries.
- Sitting has been linked to heart disease. Those who lack movement, particularly sitting for too long, are more than twice as likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those who are mobile. The risk of suffering a heart attack is nearly 150% higher!
- Sitting puts you at higher risk of diabetes. Sitting or laying for extended period can lead to increased insulin resistance, meaning that your blood sugar levels will rise – the main reason one becomes diabetic.
- Sitting wreaks havoc on your vascular system. Varicose veins are vey common in those who sit all day. Deep vein thrombosis, a potentially deadly condition that occurs when blood clots are released into the body, is a direct result of sitting too long.
- Sitting increases your risk of dementia. Studies show that those who sit all day may be at higher risk for dementia. Movement creates blood flow and oxygen, which are good for your brain.
Get Up and Move!
Everyone needs to make a living; sadly, many jobs require sitting all day. Even if you eat healthy and find time to exercise, sitting all day still puts you at risk for any of the above health conditions. As a rule, you need between 60-90 minutes a day of moderate activity to keep your body ahead of the curve. But there are still things you can still do if you don’t have that much time to exercise. Try to take a break every 30 minutes, get up and move about the office, take a restroom break, grab a cup of water, just straighten the whole posture of the body and relieve the pressure placed on the lower back. Take phone calls standing or walking and consider sitting on an exercise ball or placing a mini-exercycle under your desk. Every precaution and countermeasure you take can add years to your health and quality of life.
Endeavor Physical Therapy
Don’t let chronic pain stop you in your tracks. At Endeavor Physical Therapy and Wellness, our physical therapists and wellness experts can help you overcome pain, as well as develop strategies to keep you healthy and strong. If you are live or work in the Austin area, don’t take your health sitting down. Call Endeavor Physical Therapy today (512) 284-7192 or, request a consultation to learn of our therapeutic and wellness options.