Sitting Is The New Smoking – Diseases Linked To Sitting

by: Scott Pierce (founder, blogger & ergonomic consultant)

Spending 8+ hours per day sitting in front of a computer is bad for your posture, your back and your health in general

Sedentary-sitting for long hours is something that people are fighting all over the world debit to the changes in lifestyle. And experts say that sitting for long hours can be detrimental to your health.

Forget about exercising every day. Researchers still warn against spending lots of hours sitting.

Unlike the old days, nowadays people spend a lot of time in front of a television, computer screen or driving. These technological advancements are necessary but also are a threat to your health in many ways.

As a measure to maintain good health, you should avoid a lot of sitting down and take a walk or do some tasks while standing.

Why Sitting For Many Hours Each Day Is Bad For Your Health

There is evidence of people developing lousy health due to too much sitting. Also, people not only develop poor health when sitting for long, but there is also the risk of a shortened lifespan.

Sitting for long periods leads to some physiological changes in your body. For example, when your body is not moving, your brain receives signals and changes your metabolism to adapt to the current situation.

These changes are what bring severe effects to your body functions, including increased blood sugar levels, as well as higher amounts of fats in your body. All of these changes could lead to poor health conditions later in life. Therefore, there is a need to be careful about how long you sit without moving because it will affect your body when your age advances.

A research revealed that many people think they are free from any sitting related diseases because they exercise. Well, exercising is essential, but it does not serve as a remedy for sitting associated disorders. Most people spend 30 minutes exercising every day, and that is not sufficient to keep a person free from diseases related to sitting.

Work space

What Are The Risks?

There are adverse effects that a person who sits for prolonged periods may face. Of course, the most dreaded risk of sitting for long hours is sudden death. But other risks may also result from it, and they may lead to death eventually. The risk factors related to sitting for long hours include:

1. Developing Obesity (Overweight)

Your body cannot burn as much fat as it should if you spend more than six hours a day sitting. Since your body can no longer use fat as fuel, it starts using carbohydrates, consequently leading to obesity.

2. Weak Muscles

Not using your lower body muscles may cause them to weaken. With time, your body develops instability and your posture control declines.

3. Anxiety And Depression

A sedentary lifestyle do not affect your physical well-being only. It goes further to affect you psychologically.

4. Poor Posture And Body Pain

Sitting for long hours may affect your spine and pelvis. When your spine loses flexibility, you may develop chronic body pains and an unusual body posture. Poor posture has been found to put more pressure on the posterior muscles thereby leading to neck muscle pains.

Sitting At Work On Non-Ergonomic Chair
If you spend 6+ hours each day at work sitting on a non-ergonomic, uncomfortable chair, you may experience back pain, neck strain and problems with posture

5. Diabetes

Your cells respond slower to insulin when there is a decrease in muscle mass and strength. This makes physical inactivity a significant contributor to diabetes.

6. Heart Diseases

There is poor blood circulation when your body is less mobile. This increases fatty acids in your body hence blocking arteries and leading to heart diseases.

7. Suicide

One other uncommon risk of sitting for long hours is suicide. Surprisingly, almost everyone does not believe that sitting for too long may lead to suicide or at least most people don’t understand how sitting leads to suicide. According to NBC news, sitting down for long may cause diseases that may cause clinical depression in people.

For example, people with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s spend a lot of hours sitting down when recuperating. As a result of being clinically depressed, this prolonged sitting has been found to lead to suicidal thoughts or behavior.

Diseases Linked To Sitting

According to researchers, sitting for too long can lead to premature death. Also, one study linked sedentary people to type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cancer-related deaths. Further studies have also linked sitting for long hours to higher risks of developing dementia.

We spend in sitting position multiple hours per day at work, at home, during social meetings

Also, you may develop higher chances of heart-related diseases as a result of spending a lot of hours on your office chair. Your body burns fewer calories when you sit for long hours, unlike when you are standing. Therefore, you may lose control of your body weight when you sit for too long, which could lead to obesity, exposing you to more risk.

Sugar and fat metabolism functions are essential to the human body. If you do not take control of your body’s metabolism, you are at a higher risk of developing diseases. For example, if your body sugars are not under control, you are more likely to develop diabetes.

A Johns Hopkins medical specialist says that the modern lifestyle that involves too much sitting is taking a toll on health. With the number of deaths related to sitting for long on the increase, experts believe this will not get any better.

Most of the jobs people take part in nowadays involve too much sitting. The American Heart Association found out that sedentary jobs in the United States have risen to 83%. It means that physically active jobs total to less than 20%, and that shows diseases linked to sitting will not reduce any time soon.

How To Deal With It?

There is a need for more research on why sitting for long may be a threat to healthy living. However, it is apparent that sitting less and more active lifestyle contributes to better health. For professionals, it is essential to find ways to engage in more activity and reduce sitting while maintaining productivity.

Even for non-professionals, there may be a challenge of reducing sitting, especially when spending time at home. Therefore, everyone else should find ways to go about their daily duties without necessarily sitting down.

Sitting For Prolonged Periods
It’s crucial to have an ergonomic office chair, takes breaks from sitting and exercise regularly

Here are some of the things you may consider doing to reduce the hours you spend sitting and minimize its consequences:

  • You should take thirty-minute breaks from sitting.
  • Exercising or standing while watching television.
  • Trying a standing desk if you spend a lot of time working in front of the computer (it’s best to have a desk that can be elevated and often change from sitting to standing while working).
  • Getting ergonomic office chair that will support your whole body properly and help you maintain healthy posture.
  • Positioning your workstation above a treadmill.
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