Do you work in an office or from home? Does your job involve more sitting down than standing up? Then you might be in great danger!
According to scientists, our body was not conceived for prolonged sitting. We are beings designed to move, climb, run, and all in all be active. That’s why long sitting hours have a devastating effect on our health. But let’s see what exactly we risk when we enjoy the couch at home or the comfortable chair at the office.
The first effect is inside and we don’t tend to see it before it’s too late and the health issues are already advanced. Here’s what it usually happens:
- Heart diseases and circulatory problems – these are triggered by the fact that, when we sit, the blood flow is slowed down. Also, muscles burn less fat because the body knows it’s in a relaxed state.
- Prolonged sitting may also be directly linked with diabetes – this happens because the pancreas is producing extra insulin. According to studies, our ability to respond to insulin is slowed down by just one day of excessive sitting.
- The pancreas’s extra activity may lead to a variety of cancers (colon, breast, or endometrial). However, this was not proved yet, but according to certain studies, people who sit for longer periods of time are more likely to get a form of cancer.
- The brain – the very engine of our life is affected when you are sitting down. Because the blood flow is slower, brain cells don’t get enough oxygen which leads to brain damage and, in time, diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer.
Digestion and weight problems
You have half an hour up to one hour for lunch during the week. Usually, you get out of the office, to a restaurant (where you sit on a chair), eat, and then return to work in another chair. If you’re using the car to get to the restaurant then you’ve completely eliminated the short walk that could save your life.
The reason behind the idea of a walk after lunch is to improve digestion. If you sit down immediately after eating, the digestion will be slowed down. This leads to cramps, bloating, heartburns, and other issues. Also, a slow digestion leads to weight gain and together, all these lead to an unhealthy lifestyle.
Problems with the posture
As stated in the beginning, we are designed to stand – the very biped position is about standing. So, when we sit in front of a computer, the natural tendency is to lean forward which leads to:
- Strains to the cervical vertebrae
- Neck strain
- Sore shoulders
- Deformed spine
- Back problems – the unnatural sitting position makes the disks in your spine stay compressed most of the time. This leads to back rigidity and more often than not this translates into back pains and stiffness in movement.
If you thought the problems stop here, you’re wrong! Sitting affects other parts of our bodies like:
- Hips – the increased pressure we put on our hip area while sitting translates in stiffness, pain and sometimes numbness (the cervical nerves are affected).
- Weak abdominal muscles – when you walk, the abdominal muscles are engaged and exercised. If you sit for too long, the muscles will slowly degenerate.
- Problems with the legs – the constant sitting leads to varicose veins, swollen ankles, blood clots, weak circulation, and more. Also, legs follow the principle ‘use them of loose them’ – this means that muscles and bones will become weaker and this leads to various health problems as you get older.