11 Negative Effects of Prolonged Sitting
It is hard to imagine that a benign action like sitting can be harmful to health. For many people, working in an office is associated with long sitting at a table or desk, sometimes even throughout the day.
Of course, today there are a variety of ergonomic products that make work in the office more comfortable. In addition, some companies offer their employees a free membership to a gym or pool to give them an incentive to be healthier and more active. But we should not forget about freelance or distance workers who work at home and often spend time sitting for too long with a laptop. Even if they have a table specifically equipped for working, sitting for too long is part of many peoples’ everyday work routine. Even while we seek to keep our body balanced and active in extracurricular activities, scientists believe that many of those who are accustomed to sitting for long periods of time have already damaged their body and it will take time, and often professional methods, to correct these problems.
Effects of Sitting Too Long
In fact, a long sitting has many adverse consequences and is harmful to overall health. There are eleven most common disorders caused by prolonged sitting:
Prolonged sitting and lack of mobility reduce the rate of fat burning, which in turn slows the flow of blood and reduces the effectiveness of insulin.
Sitting all day causes pressure on the lumbar intervertebral discs, which often results in back pain and back disorders. In this position, the head is tilted forward while the shoulders are raised up in order to compensate for the weight transfer. Gradually, a person gets used to sitting in this position and over time this leads to poor posture.
Injuries to back and spine
A long sitting position creates constant pressure on the lower back, including muscles and ligaments. Do not wait until you feel a nagging hip pain and pain in the low back. Once you experience feelings of discomfort in the spine, consult your doctor for more details.
Poor social skills
Sitting all day at the laptop leads to a decrease in social activity and psychological well-being. Simply put, a person can become less interested in communicating with people and becomes less emotional. It should be noted that the psychological happiness of a person consists of several components, among them are positive assessment of oneself and one’s life, self-confidence, the ability to effectively manage one’s life, and the goals that give meaning to one’s life. All of them can be altered due to solitary and prolonged sitting at the computer.
Depression and loneliness
When virtual communication becomes the only form of communication, the size of the social circle of a person decreases, which in turn leads to an ever-growing sense of loneliness. In addition, sitting for long periods of time means less fresh air and lack of sunlight that can worsen symptoms depression.
Long sitting leads to an increase in visceral fat mass, making the tissues insensitive to insulin. This, in turn, can lead to hormonal and clinical disorders, and eventually to the development of cardiovascular diseases among which are rheumatic heart disease and ischemic heart disease.
Improper sitting for too long leads to an increase in pressure on the lower back. The pain that eventually occurs can become a symptom of chronic diseases, which are often called sitting diseases. If you experience hip pain or back pain from sitting on a regular basis, you should consult your health care provider for more details on these issues.
While sedentary work has become very common, it is one of the most harmful types of work for our body and overall health. During a shift of prolonged sitting, the muscles of a person are idle and calories are burned much more slowly. Over time, such bodily idleness can lead to gaining excess weight or even lead to obesity.
Sitting for long periods of time is bad for metabolism and for the breakdown of sugars in our body. It can reduce the ability of the body to maintain normal blood sugar, which lowers the insulin sensitivity.
Reduced activity caused by prolonged sitting increases the risk of developing cancer. According to studies, sedentary work adversely affects women, which can contribute to the development of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer.
A job that requires long sitting at a desk, behind the wheel and/or in front of a TV is harmful. A sedentary lifestyle with no walking or athletic activity can lead to the development of cardiovascular system diseases. According to scientific research, such risk is increased by 64% in both men and women. People who are used to sitting all day significantly increase their risks for rheumatic heart disease and ischemic heart disease among all other issues.
What to do if you have sedentary work?
There are cases when a person has a job that requires sedentary work and can’t move much. But even so there are some tips that will help you to somehow get rid of the harmful effects of sitting too long:
- Move your body! You can learn the words of Eiffel 65 song “Move Your Body” to inspire you to move. Croon it from time to time and move in your chair.
- Stand up! Every time you have a phone call, stand up and walk while talking. If you have an opportunity, leave your office and walk along the hall or in the yard.
- Take regular breaks! Working for a long time can be less effective than working with intervals of small breaks. You can opt for a cup of coffee or just walk for a couple of minutes. Free your mind for new ideas and give your body some activity.
- Walking instead of sitting! If you have a chance to talk to your colleagues outside the office and walk with them instead of sitting in a stuffy office, try arranging your meetings that way. It is beneficial for all involved.
As you see, the effects of sitting too long can be really harmful. But you should not worry if you can’t change your work. Instead, think of some changes in your lifestyle to protect yourself from side effects of sitting too long. Keep moving and stay healthy!