For a very long time, people with office jobs hated having to sit around the desk the entire day, while people who has to walk here and there or had a job based on manual labor dreamt about how cozy it must be to sit behind the desk and fill in paperwork.
Truth of the matter is, while office work might seem like a dream job, it involves plenty of health risks in the long haul, mostly because sitting down for more than six hours per day can lead to muscle tension, pain in the legs, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and plenty of similar problems.
What Happens When You Sit
Sitting down naturally involves using up less energy compared to what you would use if you were moving. This translated into potential health problems, including heart conditions or an increased risk for obesity. But that’s not all: people who sit down for long hours during the day are more likely to end up having high blood pressure, increased cholesterol levels, problems with the lower back, leg pain, and many other health problems.
When you think about sitting, don’t picture people who work in the office and therefore have to sit behind a desk throughout the entire working schedule. People who spend a lot of time behind the wheel, for instance, are also exposed, just like people who spend all their free time sitting in front of the TV or computer.
13 studies have gathered information about this topic, and have revealed the fact that people who spend more than eight hours sitting every day are as likely to die as people who smoke or are obese. Even if there is still plenty of room for additional studies that could give us more precise data on the effects of sitting all day, one can’t simply ignore the facts: sitting is bad for your health.
Here are some scientific facts and bits of information about what happens when sitting down throughout most of your day:
- When you sit down for 11 hours of more each day, your risk of death increases by 40 percent compared to people who only sit down for four hours per day.
- The moment you sit down, the enzymes in your body that normally help break down fat experience a 90 percent drop.
- When you sit down, your body’s insulin effective decreases, as well as the levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
- Sitting down causes your blood pressure to rise.
- Extra pressure starts to fall on your neck and spine.
- The more you sit, the more likely it is for blood clots to form inside your brain.
- People who have office jobs and have to sit the entire day are twice as likely to end up having heart disease compared to those with more active jobs.
Danger of Sitting Too Long
With the way office jobs have evolves, it seems almost mandatory to spend as many hours at work as you can in order to strive in achieving performance and be eligible for promotion. In the hectic run for better-paid jobs, people neglect the health implications and dangers of spending countless hours sitting behind the desk.
- First of all, sitting down all day can damage your heart. When comparing a group of conductors with another one comprised of transit drivers, the results were surprising. Both groups had similar lifestyles and diet, but because one of them sat down most of the time and the other one stood, transit drivers were twice as likely to end up having a heart attack.
- When you sit down for too long, the effects counter those of exercise. For example, exercising for four hours a week won’t be of any service if you sit down for four hours per day.
- People who sit down a lot are more likely to end up having diabetes. It seems that sitting down changes the way our body reacts to insulin, which is a hormone that can regulate sugar burning throughout the body.
- Sitting down can lead to a condition called DVT (which is short for “deep vein thrombosis”). This is, in fact, a clot that forms into your leg and people who sit down a lot are more likely to have it. There is a risk that the clot might break down and lodge your lungs. Some people have symptoms, but others can have DVT with no visible signs.
- People who sit down a lot are more likely to end up having weight problems.
- Varicose veins are another problem that you might end up facing when you sit down for too long. This occurs because of blood pool in the veins of your legs, which leads to swelling and twisting. Aside from being unaesthetic, varicose veins can also be painful to live with.
- Having an office job is not without flows, and it has been proven that people who spend a lot of time in front of a screen are more likely to suffer from anxiety.
- As much as some people try to correct their posture while sitting down, they often end up sitting wrong involuntarily. Your back muscles are under a lot of strain when you sit, particularly your spine which isn’t properly aligned. Furthermore, sitting down for many hours can cause shoulder and neck pain as well.
- Scientific evidence suggests that people who sit down for plenty of hours during the day are more likely to end up with certain forms of cancer, such as colon, uterine, or lung cancer.
Tips for Combating a Sedentary Lifestyle
Naturally, the best way to avoid sitting down all day, or at least to counteract some of the negative impact it has on your health is to start exercising more. Not only does physical activity feel good, but it has tremendous health benefits, including a lower risk for diabetes development, better heart health, and less joint and muscle pain. You can reduce or fight your sitting-down time and avoid leading a sedentary lifestyle by:
- Whenever possible, replace driving with walking. If you can walk to the grocery store, do so. If you can walk to walk, do so. If your commute takes too long and you can’t walk to work or back home every day, you should try standing in your public means of transportation instead of looking for an empty seat.
- If you have a half hour or perhaps even a full hour available during your lunch break, considering going for a walk during that time.
- If you work involved sitting behind a desk for the entire day, then you should get up and stretch your legs once every 30 minutes. Set a reminder on your phone if you have to, it’s important.
- If there’s no way for you to move around more at the workplace, then you should consider doing more chores around the house. And while you’re at it, don’t be afraid to pick up the pace. The idea is to get as much movement as you can while doing the things that you have to do anyway. Most people don’t have spare time to hit the gym, so whatever work there is to be done around the house can be an excellent excuse for you to get moving.
- Every time you talk on the phone throughout the day, stand up. If you’re in the office and answering the landline, stand up while you take the call. If you’re at home or at work and you’re talking on your mobile phone, walk around the office or the room. Use any and every moment as an excuse to stretch your legs.
- Those of you that live in an apartment building or work on the Xth floor of an office building should take the stairs instead of the elevator every time. Going up the stairs actually puts a lot of different muscles to work. If you have comfortable shoes or if the situation allows it, consider skipping a stair and climbing two in one move. It will help you stretch those leg muscles even more.
- Hobbies are an excellent way to combine pleasure and exercise, provided that you can find a hobby that does not involve sitting down.
- Set up goals and rewards. If you establish a certain walking goal every day and actually meet it, reward yourself with something that you enjoy, like your favorite burger. Just make sure you set up for a treat that you don’t normally enjoy, or else the reward won’t motivate you.
It’s true that not everyone has the possibility to work while standing up, although those who do might actually tell you they’d love an office job where they get to sit down all day long. Truth of the matter is, people who work standing up have chances at a much better health status compared to those who have to force their spine into a bad position.
When your job involves plenty of sitting down, you have to counteract its effects. Try to squeeze in as much exercise during the day as you possibly can. Opt for a bike instead of a car, consider doing the groceries on foot, but also finish your chores by picking up the pace.