The steady rise of digital technology has turned the most common posture at work place to sitting. For most nine to fivers, the average time they spend at their desk is calculated at 8hrs. That’s 40hrs a week and 192hrs a month – a whole lot of sitting!
Many health issues that arise from sitting down for long hours have been blamed on poor genes, bad diet and even environment. But researches over the years have shown that those issues are direct side effects of long hours of sitting.
Here are some of them
It’s no secret that an inactive lifestyle can lead to increased weight gain. Too much sitting has been shown to decrease lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity, which can have a negative impact on the body’s ability to burn fat. This leads to increased fat stores and encourages the use of carbohydrates (instead of fat) for fuel, and as a result, the body will continue to gain fat even while consuming a low-calorie diet.
Poor Blood Circulation
Another obvious yet often ignored consequence of immobile sitting is poor circulation. Prolonged sitting time can slow down your circulation and cause blood to pool in the legs and feet, which can lead to varicose veins, swollen ankles, or even dangerous blood clots like deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
When our body burns less fat and blood circulation is poor, there’s an increased chance of fatty acids blocking the arteries in the heart. This links inactive sitting to elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. In fact, a study has shown that men who spend more than 10 hours a week riding a car or over 23 hours a week watching television had 82% and 64% greater risk of suffering from heart disease compared to those who spent significantly less time on both activities.
Sitting all day loosens and weakens the muscles in the body, particularly those in the midsection and lower body. And without strong legs and glutes, our lower body becomes unable to hold us up when sitting down or keep us stable when walking and jumping, putting us at risk of injury. As they say, if you don’t use it, you lose it.
According to a 2017 study that examined the link between diabetes and total sitting time, there is a higher risk of diabetes in physically inactive people, with prolonged sitting being a major contributing factor. This is because decreased muscle mass and strength can result in lowered insulin sensitivity, which means that the cells respond slower to insulin (the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels). The lower the body’s sensitivity to insulin, the higher the incidence of diabetes.
Chronic Body Pain
The longer you sit and maintain bad posture, the more likely you are to experience chronic pain in areas such as your neck, shoulders, back, hips, and legs. Back pain is a prevalent health problem in the most countries and is considered one of the most common job-related disabilities.
But it’s not all gloomy. Studies have shown that breaking sedentary pose every 5 mins within an hour will considerably lower the risk posed. To do this, break your work flow for 5 mins within the hour to take a short walk around your office space to get the blood flowing again. Also, take exercising more seriously and watch your calorie intake to avoid taking in carbs you may not burn. Remember you work to live, not the other way around
By Sarah Oyedo