Make Your Move: 5 Reasons Why Prolonged Sitting Can Kill You (and How to Change Your Daily Routine)
There’s no denying that most people who work full time spend countless hours staring at a computer screen. It’s hard to avoid, as so many occupations now rely on online communication, requiring the use of a computer.
However, while great success may come as a result of your sitting still at your desk for hours on end, a far deadlier result of this sedentary lifestyle is also looming on the horizon.
The fact is, prolonged sitting for periods of time can wreak havoc on your health, causing repercussions that are far more serious than some may think.
Read on to discover five ways sitting too long can damage your health, and how you can make effective changes to curtail the effects of life at a desk job.
Sitting is the New Smoking
This line has become the new slogan of the health and medical world after many doctors and health specialists have begun to understand just how dangerous a sedentary life can be to the human body.
For instance, when a person spends too much time not actively engaging their muscles, they can actually begin to shorten, causing your body to curl into itself over time if not alleviated. These conditions can be seen in those who are handicapped, or in senior citizens who are minimally active.
And for those who spend close to 8-10 hours a day sitting down, much more than just shortened muscles can begin to occur.
1. Extensive Organ Damage
While everyone may experience a backache every now and again as a result of being seated in one position for too long, far more damaging changes can be happening within your body as well.
Over time, as you allow your body to remain inactive for multiple hours on a daily basis, you’re simply asking for the onset of various diseases and conditions.
When inactive, your muscles don’t burn as much fat and your blood flow slows down, allowing fatty acids to build up and clog your arteries – as well as your heart.
Sitting too long can have all kinds of adverse effects, such as:
– high cholesterol
– high blood pressure
– cardiovascular disease
– breast cancer
– colon cancer
– endometrial cancers
In the meantime, as a result of your body consistently staying inactive, your pancreas can start to overproduce insulin, potentially leading to diabetes.
2. Weight Gain
After what you just read, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the slowdown of your body due to sitting can cause someone to pack on the pounds.
As already stated, when you keep your body inactive for too long, your muscles won’t be able to function as efficiently as they should. This gradual decline causes your body to start burning less fat, while any calories you eat during your day don’t get utilized either, ending in a greater amount of them being stored as fat, not burned away for energy.
3. Decline in Brain Function
Sure, those few cups of coffee you devour every morning certainly will keep your brain responsive for the first couple of hours in the day, even while hunched over your keyboard.
But as that caffeine starts to wear off, your brain will also start to slow, causing brain fog that can leave you groggy and unproductive.
Staying active by keeping your muscles in motion gets the blood pumping, releasing more oxygen to the brain and keeping you more alert. Moving consistently throughout the day will even result in mood stabilization, so you’ll be feeling happier and less stressed as the day goes by.
4. Muscle Deterioration
Even if you spend an hour a day working on building lean muscles and a firm set of abs, sitting up to 7-9 hours afterward is hardly going to help your fitness level.
Of course spending an hour exercising is better than nothing.
But when you sit for hours at a time, your abdominal muscles won’t be utilized as effectively as when standing, where they can stretch or contract as you move.
Long periods in one seated position weakens your musculature, so without more activity, that hard-earned hour of exercise will be more or less futile.
5. Neck and Back Pain
One of the most common symptoms of being desk-bound is back and neck pain.
Naturally, you will begin to experience fatigue staying in the same position for hours, which then leads to bad posture and a strain on your cervical vertebrae. This is the cause of upper back and neck pain, sore shoulders and even lumbar pain in your lower back.
Adding stress to your back by compressing your spinal disks all day can be solved by simply standing more often and allowing your spinal cord to expand more freely.
How Do You Prevent the Symptoms of Sitting Too Much?
Even a few small, daily changes can get you started towards a healthier, more active lifestyle – even during your weekdays at the office.
If you’re locked into a computer job, spend at least a few minutes at the beginning of each hour standing up, walking across the office floor, or stretching your muscles.
Below are recommended easy to do exercises perfect to stretch your muscles even your at your desk:
While this may seem like it’s taking time away from your work, engaging your brain and body again will simply keep you more energized and productive when you’re back in your seat.
Make phone calls while standing up. Take a brisk walk during your break time or lunch hour. Ask your boss about the possibility of getting standing desks for you and your colleagues. Take the stairs instead of the elevator on your way to and from the office.
Small changes can have a big impact. Decide what you can do throughout your day to help prevent the effects of constantly sitting, and allow yourself the luxury of a longer, healthier life.