Is Sitting Really Harming You? (Things You Need to Know)

The new information about sitting is both frightening and interesting. Did you know that sitting is deemed as one of the leading causes of death nowadays?

Not only that, it has profound effects to work performance and overall personality – gradually putting you into peril wherein problems can occur when neglected.

But what seems to be the main problem? How is sitting becoming dangerous? Often, it’s more about our lifestyle. Keeping a sedentary life can be dangerous. The longer the hours you are sitting, the more prone you are to health-related issues.


Do You Really Need To Avoid Sitting?

Of course, there are times in which you can’t avoid to sit down like when you are working in an office or to simply rest. However, the point is that you must avoid too much sitting in a day. If you fail to move around or stand, you will have a high risk of health issues such as heart diseases.

Come to think of it, we often require ourselves to work overtime especially if there deadlines to meet or projects to be completed. That means longer hours to be spent on our workstations and desks. From typing to creating handmade crafts, sitting is a crucial activity and can also be dangerous.

When you sit, you are using lesser energy as compared when you are moving or standing. There are studies linking sitting to various health concerns that need proper attention. For instance, gaining weight, increased blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, and other health problems are caused by sitting.

In an article published by Mayo Clinic, it was stated that sitting also seems to increase the risks of death due to cardiovascular diseases and cancer.


Sedentary Lifestyle: How does it affect your body system?

As many people know, the human body is built to stand upright. With that nature of our body, the organs and systems in the body such as the cardiovascular system can work properly. Your digestive system will not function efficiently when you are not upright. That explains why some patients who always engaged in lying down due to medical conditions are experiencing issues with their bowel movement.

Below are several interesting things you should know about sitting and why it is harmful to you.

1. Do you know that sitting for more than 6 hours daily can make you up to 40% likelier to die within 15 years than someone who sits less than 3 hours? 

2. Experts have revealed that sitting for long hours slows down the body’s metabolism and can cause indigestion and weight problems.

3. While sitting, electrical activities in the leg muscles immediately stop. The enzymes which are responsible for breaking down the fat drop to 90%.

4. Sitting increases the risk of getting heart diseases by 200%. As explained by the experts, this is due to the lesser activities making the heart unable to effectively pump blood. The distribution of air and nutrients to the body is also affected. When that happens, stroke and heart attack are more likely to happen. 

5. Prolonged sitting is also the culprit of why a lot of people are experiencing back pain.  

6. Sitting contributes to the risk of having joint pains.

7. Neck pain is also triggered by sitting affecting a big part of our the world’s population.

8. Additional 2 hours of sitting each day are also linked to an increased risk in colon cancer.

9. Sitting is also considered as one of the major reasons for having varicose veins and spider veins. This happens when the blood pool in the legs. Although varicose veins are usually not that dangerous, they can still cause serious health risks such as blood clots and deep vein thrombosis.

10. Sitting also cause the weakening and deterioration of bum muscles – composing of gluteal muscles and large leg. Once these parts of the body are affected, then you will be at risk of injuring yourself as well as getting involved in accidents. 

11. Sitting is connected to weight problems. Since the ability to digest the sugar and fats in the body is also based on muscle movement, failure to do physical activities will lead to indigestion and the inability to burn fat. 

12. Mental health can be also affected by prolonged sitting. Although there is no valid research yet to prove that sitting is connected to having anxiety and depression, there is still a higher chance of experiencing mental health issues. When a person experiences physical health issues such as fatigue and discomfort, the ability to handles issues and solve problems can be affected. 

13. When you sit for long periods of time, your hips and back can be also affected. Your hip flexor can become shorter due to sitting, and when that happens, hip joints will become problematic. Also, you can have a poor posture due to sitting for long hours. We are all aware of how poor posture can lead to poor spine health, spine degenerations, and a lot more.

That’s why if it is impossible to not spend long hours of sitting, an ergonomically designed chair can be very helpful. Standing desks are also available in various marketplaces, so make sure to check them out. They will be a big help in preventing sedentary life and will also ensure comfort and productivity in the workplace.

14. Various studies have stated that the more time you spend in sitting, the higher risk of diabetes you can have.

15. Sitting increases the chances of cancer development in various parts of the body such as colon, lung, uterine, and others.

16. Stiff neck and shoulders are often experienced by people whose work are similar to typing, paperwork, and those that require sitting. Such jobs can cause stiffness in the shoulders and neck.


What To Do To Avoid The Dangers Of Sitting

The good thing now is that more and more individuals are getting aware about the risks of prolonged sitting. The better news is that there are effective changes that we can implement to avoid the perils that sitting can cause.

Please note that to be able to make all these tips effectively, you need to instill discipline to yourself and lifestyle.

1. It is crucial to take some time to stand up every 90 minutes. Do not wait until your arms and whole body are feeling numb and tired. Get up and walk within the office or somewhere outside so you’ll keep your blood flowing again. That will make you feel energized again. Furthermore, it will also clear your mind and bring back your focus.

Here’s a simple technique for you to make sure that you will not be seated all day. Leave your meal for lunch in the car so you will be forced to get up, walk, and get it. Instead of emailing or chatting with your colleague about something that you need to discuss, approach them and have a face-to-face conversation. The simple technique of getting up every 90 minutes will aid in preventing the hazardous effects of sitting. Aside from walking, you can also try jumping jacks and some stretching.

2. Maintain proper posture. Sitting at least 1350 puts less strain on your back. Avoid hunching forward. When you sit properly, you’ll feel more comfortable.

3. Sit properly at your desk. If your job requires to staring at the computer screen, have your monitor at eye height and sit an arm’s length away from the keyboard, shoulders back, keeping your feet flat on the floor.

4. Do the couch stretch every day. Follow the instructions to do it: Stand with your back to the wall, then place one bent knee on the ground, allowing your shin and foot to rest against the wall, with the other foot planted firmly on the ground. Then, slowly raise your torso up so you'll be standing straight and tall. Stay on that position for a minimum of two minutes, then, switch sides.

5. Start your day by moving. Walk in the morning before you prepare yourself to work. As the experts say, walking is one of the best and simplest forms of exercise. It’s very helpful since it opens your hip flexors and allows the blood to pump throughout your body. Start your morning right; since it’s the healthier way you can keep yourself as energized as possible.

You may be asking how long should you take a walk. It will be a great idea if you can set a number of steps to take before you sit down. You can ask a health expert on how many steps can be ideally taken in 30 minutes, for instance. You can also add more steps by climbing using the stairs instead of the elevator.

6. Perform a Hindu squat. Many of us still don’t know that squatting can do wonders to our body especially to the hips. Not only that, but it can be also amazing to the knees, ankles, and the whole digestive system. Everyone can do the Hindu squat, but since most of us have sat for long periods of time, it becomes difficult to do this type of exercise.

So, how to do the Hindu squat? First, lower down your body into a regular squat. Next, continue down when your thighs are parallel to the floor. Then, drop your bottom to the floor and allow your fingers to sweep the ground.

As much as possible, do squats when you can. You can integrate squats with some of your usual activities such as patting your dog, talking to a toddler, and more. Eventually, you will then find yourself feeling more comfortable doing this type of exercise.

7. Do foam rolling. When you do the foam roll on any tight spots, you are giving your body to remove those spots in your muscles. This also helps in improving the blood flow and circulation.

It will be very helpful if you can follow the above-mentioned points. Here are more helpful tips for you to do more activities and keep you moving.

  • Walk instead of using your vehicle; you can also ride a bicycle when going to work or any possible destination whenever possible.
  • Use the stairs instead of using the escalator.
  • Ride and get off the bus one stop early. Then, just walk the rest of the way to your office or destination.
  • When you have to visit a certain place like a store or a mall,  it will be better to park away from it and walk the rest of the way.
  • It’s also important to seek advice for the experts regarding your medical condition before delving into physical activities. Consult your physician so they can advise you if there are activities that can be perfect for you to do and enjoy.
  • Keeping an active lifestyle and getting involved in work and indoor activities can help you get rid of too much sitting and prevent its negative effects. Keep learning new activities that can help you do movements such as dancing,  yoga, swimming, rock climbing, martial arts, and more.

More research and findings are still needed to prove the effects of sitting and physical activity on various aspects of health. But, it is undoubtedly clear that the less we sit and the more we move can contribute to better health conditions. Some ways to prevent sitting from harming you do not need to be difficult. Just by standing while watching television or talking over the phone can help. Another smart idea is to try a convertible standing desk. It’s comfortable and convenient to use.

In addition, you can just walk with your colleagues instead of sitting in your workstation during your break time.  For some individuals, sitting is a form of rest. However, anything that is too much can be harmful. The same rule applies to sitting. Be aware and cautious to not neglect some physical activities.

So, get up and do some stretches to be more active, healthier, and live longer!