Posted: 5 June 2018
Remember sitting down at grade school all day long and feeling restless? Have you noticed you’ve now become accustomed to sitting for hours on end as an adult? Sitting is a more common part of life than one might think.
Adults sit for hours on end every week as they drive to and from work, many of them headed to sit for more hours at their desk every day. So much sitting adds up over time and it can take a significant toll on your health.
In fact, some studies even say sitting can kill you. The effects of sitting add up over time, slowly chipping away at certain important functions of the body. This is why more people are choosing standing work desks or flexible work environments.
If you’re not yet convinced about the effects of sitting too long, check out the consequences of sitting listed below.
1. Increased Risk of Diabetes
Diabetes can occur when the body has trouble breaking down sugar and making use of insulin. Sugar is best used when you’re out and about because the body needs it to create the energy that keeps you going.
However, it doesn’t take much effort to sit down. This can slow down how sugar is turned into energy and ultimately alter the way your body reacts to it. Over time, such a shift may result in diabetes.
2. Signs of Heart Problems
Heart troubles are another effect of exerting less energy throughout the day. Sitting for hours on end can lower your resting heart rate – the normal amount of heartbeats per minute.
This may not sound too bad until you think about all the times you need your heartbeat to speed up. A lower resting heart rate makes it harder to reach an ideal working heart rate when exercising, putting a serious strain on the body.
It could also cause your body to go into shock when experiencing stress or anxiety, which speed up your heart rate as well. In the most extreme of cases, this will lead to a heart attack or stroke.
3. Blood Clots
A heart attack usually happens when oxygen is blocked from reaching the heart. This may be due to slow or unsteady pumping, or because of a blood clot.
Blood clots can happen anywhere in the body. People who sit for hours on end every day are more likely to develop them in their legs – a condition called DVT.
Deep Vein Thrombosis makes the legs swell or feel painful. Sometimes, the clot can move around the body and affect more sensitive areas, like the heart or the lungs.
4. A Faster Aging Process
Most people think heart attacks are only for the elderly or those who are prone to blood clots for reasons other than sitting. Then, when they see it happen to a young loved one or experience it themselves, it’s a huge wake-up call.
But, sitting kills slowly, too. Sitting for hours on end every day speeds up the aging process. It makes the muscles of your body weaker and can slow down how your brain processes things.
These signs of aging may hit you sooner than expected. Thankfully, all you have to do to alter the ways sitting is killing you is to stand and move around more often. An office balance board can help you do that.
5. Back Pain
This cause of sitting too long is often the most recognizable. Back pain happens when you put a stress on the lower back from sitting with bad posture. But, it can also happen if you sit perfectly upright and balanced for too long.
It’s not the lower back alone affected, either. If you have a tendency to lean towards your screen (or other working material) you’re going to feel tightness in your shoulders and your neck.
Neck pain can also happen from sitting upright but looking down or up too long. The best way to position your workspace is to have everything at eye level. This may not be the easiest setup to accomplish – and it will take some getting used to – but it’s much better than the alternative.
6. Other Cases of Stiffness and Sore Muscles
It makes sense for most people that the back, neck, and shoulders get sore from too much sitting. Have you ever thought about the strain this can put on other areas of the body, though?
Sitting down for hours on end every day can make certain parts of the body weaker. For example, sitting doesn’t activate the legs or the core at all.
There are some ways you can engage your core or shift weight to your legs. Still, this isn’t enough to match up to all the work your spine is doing to hold you up.
You’re likely to feel tightness in your knees from the joints not being used throughout the day and a soreness in your buttocks. Get up and move around more often to prevent these things from happening.
7. A Stunted Fitness Performance
Maybe you’re already aware of some of the ways sitting can kill you, so you’ve made more of an effort to be active when you’re not at work. The thing is, you have to look at everything in terms of the big picture.
Just as it makes no sense to workout for an hour then go eat a cheeseburger, it doesn’t do much to workout for 5-7 hours a week if you’re sitting for about 40 hours.
In fact, you may even notice that it’s harder to reach new goals in the gym if you’re not changing how often you sit at work. But, at least you’re doing something to fight obesity, which can also happen as a result of sitting all the time.
Fight the Ways Sitting Can Kill You and Boost Productivity
Here’s one more thing sitting for too long takes a toll on: your ability to focus. That afternoon slump isn’t always a sign you need another cup of coffee – it might be your body’s way of telling you to get up and move around.
When you pay attention to the ways sitting can kill you, you start to notice how much it truly gets in the way. Sitting hinders your focus, productivity, memory, and fitness performance. It takes a hit on many things at once.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to combat a handful of its effects with a few efforts. To find out how you can change the way you sit or how long you sit and boost productivity, click here.