Have you heard that the sedentary lifestyle is killing people? So many experts will tell you that you need to move more and do more throughout the day. They’ll tell you all about the people of the past who were healthy because they walked around so much, but that obesity and ill-health have become a major problem now that more people have desk jobs.
Is this really the case? Could it be that our jobs are killing us or the love of the couch is making us ill? It’s time to look at the facts. Here are the seven ways sitting all day is affecting our health negatively.
It’s Leading to More Obesity Problems
The big issue with sitting is that we move less. This means we end up burning fewer calories than we have in the past. In fact, sitting causes us to burn 30% fewer calories than we would if we stood all day. So, if we really had to do a desk job, we could combat some of the problems by investing in a standing desk. It’s also possible to get a desk that raises, so you can choose to sit and stand at strategic points of the day.
When you sit more, you’re also more likely to eat more. You will reach for high calories snacks and drinks. Yet, you’re not burning the calories to support that, so you end up gaining weight.
Weight gain brings its own health problems. It’s linked to heart disease, organ failure, and skin problems. Acne is worse, the hair is greasier, and our mental health takes a dip. By gaining weight, we naturally feel less healthy than we would if we were lighter and thinner.
The obesity issue applies even if you do exercise the same amount as someone who stands for their job. Studies show that obesity doubled by increasing the time you sit at 8% throughout the day. It’s all in the calories you burn when you’re physically standing.
If you can’t invest in a standing desk, an option is to do some desk workouts. Every hour, make sure you do 5 minutes of exercises, whether it’s desk pushups, squats, or walking around the office. Also spend more time standing at lunch, such as going for a walk instead of sitting in the break room the whole time.
Sitting Leads to More Sitting
Did you know those people who sit are more likely to sit more throughout the day? It’s an awkward spiral that makes it hard to get out of the negative effects.
It’s common to view work as tiring. Even if you’re not on your feet all day, you can feel like your brain has received a workout. You’re exhausted from a bad night’s sleep or the stress of the commute. When you get home, you instantly sit down in front of the TV to veg away for the night. You just want a break.
But that break involves more sitting. Sure, work may have been mentally challenging, but your body isn’t getting a workout. In fact, sitting all day may have made your body more tired than it really is. Your muscles ache (and we’ll look at why that is soon) and your posture doesn’t get the support it needs.
One of the best things you can do is give your body a workout when you get home. Get off the bus a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way. Opt for cycling or walking to work where you can. Before getting back home, do a session in the gym or start your day with a morning run. These small inclusions in the day will help your body gain more benefits, despite sitting all day for your job.
You’re More Likely to Suffer from Diseases
Sitting can lead to backaches, but it can also lead to less physically noticed issues. The organs start to deteriorate when you sit for too long, due to a negative effect on the blood flow. Your blood isn’t able to flow as smoothly through the body, slowing down in the legs and leading to more fatty acids accumulating. Your heart is clogged and all your organs suffer.
Studies show that sitting more leads to higher blood pressure levels, more cholesterol, and more stress. Our bodies don’t get the same influx of happy hormones as when standing for more in the day. This leads to the negative hormones taking over, making it harder to want to exercise more.
With the organs suffering and more stress, the body is more likely to suffer from disease and illness. Your immune system is compromised, so you’re likely to have more chronic pain, common colds, the flu, and even more serious diseases. Studies have shown that people are more likely to develop some cancers, especially breast, colon, and endometrial ones. Type II diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are also more likely.
This can all be overcome by simply moving a little bit more when you’re in the office. You just need to add five minutes of exercise into each hour, which is perfect to help take a break from the computer screen. Just walking around the office for a toilet break will work wonders!
The Muscles Degrade Overtime
When you work the muscles more, they will build in strength. If you don’t work them, they will start to degrade. It shouldn’t be that surprising to hear that the more you site, the weaker your muscles will be. This isn’t just bad for your body shape, but for your overall health. You’re not just going to lose the six-pack, but you will also feel more tension and pain throughout the day.
The core is one of the weakest but most crucial parts of the body. When you sit, you don’t use the core muscles for movement. They start to weaken, leading to weaker hips and glutes. Your spine ends up out of line and your whole posture is affected.
With your core suffering, your whole stability will be more. The balance will be thrown, as your glutes don’t have the strength to hold you up. This could make you more prone to injury just on a normal day! You can pull hamstrings and quads or feel more pain on your shoulders, neck and even knees.
And let’s not forget about how the weakness will affect you when you do decide to exercise. Your muscles will ache and can’t sustain the same level of fitness they used to. While you have some muscle memory, you don’t have the stamina. Pushing yourself to get back to where you used to be will take longer, but you’re more likely to want to get there sooner. This increases the risk of injury!
It’s important to keep doing some desk workouts throughout the day. Opt for walking while on your breaks to keep your muscle strength up. It really is a case of moving more.
Your Posture Will Be Pore
Back and neck pain are more common in those who sit throughout the day. This is due to their posture being negatively affected. The best way to correct posture is by standing more, so a standing desk will be perfect for you.
When you sit, you’re more likely hunched over with your head down. Even if you’re at a desk, you won’t sit properly to protect your posture. Not many people will sit with their back straight, shoulders back, feet firmly on the floor and computer at eye-level. They either have the computer too high or too low or tend to sit slouched in their computer chairs. You end up with a sore neck, painful back, and tight hips.
The pain will continue throughout the day. When you do start standing more, you can feel the ache in your lower back. Your core muscles aren’t strong enough to support your good posture. It takes time to retrain your body, but most people aren’t interested in doing that.
When you stand, your posture naturally goes back into the right position. You pull your shoulders back and keep your head up to look where you’re walking. When you exercise, you can support the core muscles to make it easier to sit with good posture.
This is one of those ill-effects that you can do something about throughout the day. Standing more will help, but being conscious about your posture when sitting is an excellent way to improve your health.
The Brain Doesn’t Get a Good Workout
You think you’ve had a hard day at work. While it wasn’t physical, you likely think you had a hard mental day at work. There are high chances that this isn’t the case. Your job of organizing diaries, carrying out menial tasks, and typing away at the computer doesn’t use the critical thinking skills in the way that many other jobs do.
This doesn’t mean you have to give up your job and find something else. Nor does it mean that what you do isn’t important. It is for your job and you may enjoy it. But it does mean you need to consider the effects the job is having on your health.
By sitting and doing menial tasks all day, your brain doesn’t get the workout that it used to do. Sitting too much can lead to “brain fog.” There’s this cloudy feeling within the head, causing you to forget what you’re doing or going through the day in a haze. It feels tiring, but it really isn’t. Think of your brain as a muscle. The less it does, the weaker it gets.
Your brain needs a movement to boost its health. When you do more, the oxygen will flow around the body and into the brain. Your brain gets fresh blood, helping to release the happy hormones and chemicals through your body. You’ll reduce your stress levels naturally, feel happier within yourself, and have more energy throughout the day!
Sitting Ruins Your Workout
Even if you do a workout, you’re sitting down job ruins it. In some cases, it can completely defeat the purpose of the workout! Studies have shown that your 60-minute run is only as good as 12 minutes of a run when you sit down for 10 hours in the office. That’s 80% of your exercise defeated because of your job! You only gain 20% of the health benefits.
Is it really worth it?
Well, before you give up on the exercise, it’s worth looking at ways that you can make it more beneficial. Rather than just sitting down for the whole day, do more at the desk. Get up more, do desk workouts every couple of hours, walk on your lunch break, take the stairs more, and even switch your office chair for an exercise ball.
Little things go a long way to make sure your exercise becomes worthwhile. Start off small and work your way up to gain all the benefits. You’ll soon find that the whole body will feel better, including the mind.
Is Sitting Down affecting Your Health?
It’s tempting to sit at the office and then sit down at home for the rest of the evening. You’ve worked hard so you deserve time in front of the TV, right? Well, that’s not actually the case. You may feel like your mind is working hard, but it isn’t and your body definitely isn’t getting a workout.
Sitting down is affecting your health. It’s causing you to gain weight, lose muscle, and gain pore posture. Your brain doesn’t get the workout it needs and your organs start to suffer. You’re more likely to suffer from ill health, which doesn’t just mean the slightest of cold.
It’s time to change the way you do things in the office. Some changes to the things you do every hour or two will help to improve your overall health. This could be something as simple as walking around the office on an hourly basis or ditching the car for the bike. Are you ready to make a change?