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Is Sitting Bad For You and Your Health

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Sitting is a common body position. Most activities are carried out while seated. However, this does not mean that sitting and other effects of a sedentary lifestyle are harmless. More than half of the average person’s day is spent sitting, engaging in activities such as driving, working at a desk, or watching television.

The typical office employee can spend up to 15 hours maximum sitting time per day.

Table Of Contents

Why Is Sitting Bad For You

  1. Sitting reduces the number of calories burnt. Your daily non-physical activities, such as standing, walking and even fidgeting, continue to burn calories. This energy expenditure is known as thermogenesis without physical activity (NEAT), the lack of which is a significant risk factor for weight gain. Sedentary behavior, which includes sitting and lying down, involves minimal energy expenditure. Strongly limit calories burned through NEAT. 
  2. Sitting increases the risk of weight gain. The fewer calories burnt, the more you gain weight. This is the reason why sedentary behavior is so closely related to obesity. Research shows that people with obesity sit an average of two hours longer each day than people with normal weight.
  3. Sitting is linked to premature death. Observational data from over 1 million people shows that the more sedentary you are, the more likely you are to die sooner. The most sedentary people had a 22-49% risk of premature death.
  4. Sedentary behavior is related to the disease. Sedentary behavior is consistently linked to more than 30 chronic diseases and conditions, including a 112% increased risk of type 2 diabetes and a 147% increased risk of heart disease. The researchers believe that a sedentary lifestyle may directly affect insulin resistance. This effect can occur in as little as one day.

Sitting For Long Periods Of Time

Sitting for prolonged periods can significantly cause back pain, increasing the stress on your back, neck, arms, and legs and adding tremendous pressure to your back and shoulder muscles. Also, sitting in a hunched position can overstretch the spinal ligaments and strain the spinal discs. In addition to being uncomfortable, poor sitting posture and workplace ergonomics can damage spinal structures over time and contribute to recurring neck or back pain episodes.

Sitting Disease Symptoms

  • Bad Posture

Your daily activities shape your body. So if you use most of the day slumped on a computer keyboard, your musculoskeletal system will adapt to this position. Sitting in an office chair causes the neck and shoulders to bend forward, so it’s no wonder they feel sore after hours of inadequate lumbar support. In addition, the sitting position causes the pelvis to rotate backward, putting pressure on the lumbar discs. With an adjustable standing desk, you can position your desk at the perfect height to avoid straining your neck and shoulders. Start sitting healthy to avoid injuries.

  • Back and Spine Injuries   

“Use it or lose it” doesn’t just apply to muscle strength and exercise. It is also affected by your daily activity. If you are sedentary for long periods, your spine weakens, and the muscle (called the psoas) that runs along your lower back stiffens, increasing your risk of lumbar disc herniation. Spinal health requires movement, so the soft discs between the vertebrae expand and contract, absorbing blood and nutrients. The discs become brittle, dehydrated, and stiff as collagen hardens around the supporting tendons and ligaments when inactive. On a standing desk, you are likelier to wiggle, fidget, and move – activities necessary for back and spine health.

Also, read – Types and Techniques of Breathwork

  • Weight Gain and Slower Metabolism 

You burn 50 more calories per hour while standing than sitting, for a total of 400 more calories burned per day and 2,000 more calories per work week. When you stand up, your abdominal muscles keep you upright, increasing their strength and slimming your waist. However, sitting too long slows down your metabolism, as decreased muscle contractions act less quickly to remove fat from your bloodstream. As the effect of insulin begins to weaken and your weight increases so do your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

  • Chronic Fatigue

Do you feel sleepy, exhausted, and fuzzy at work? It could be the result of “sitting sickness .”Sitting for long periods causes energy levels to plummet as blood flow decreases. When inactive, blood sugar levels rise (also called hyperglycemia), which can cause chronic fatigue, especially in people with diabetes. But at a standing desk, its movement increases circulation and stabilizes blood sugar levels, so you get the clarity, stamina, and productivity you need to succeed at work.   

  • Repetitive Use Injuries

Do you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, or bursitis? For most employees, these repetitive motion injuries result from long hours immobile in one position. Mild pain develops into severe pain or numbness and may indicate the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. With an ergonomic standing desk, you can adjust the height of your workstation, so your hands, wrists, and elbows rest at the right level to prevent repetitive use injuries. 

is sitting bad for you

Dangers Of Sitting

1. Weak Legs and Buttocks

By sitting all day, you don’t rely on the powerful muscles of your lower body to support you. This leads to muscle atrophy, which is the weakening of these muscles. Without strong leg and buttock muscles to stabilize you, your body is at risk of injury.

Also, read – Should You Walk 10,000 Steps Per Day for Weight Loss?

2. Weight Gain

Movement causes your muscles to release molecules such as lipoprotein lipase, which help break down the fats and sugars you eat. According to research, when you spend most of the day sitting, the release of these molecules slows, and your butt is at a greater risk of swelling. You also have a higher privilege of getting metabolic syndrome, even if you exercise.

3. Tight Hips and Back Problems

As with the muscles of the legs and buttocks, the hips and back will also suffer from sitting. Sitting shortens your hip flexors, and sitting can also hurt your back, especially if you have poor posture or don’t use an ergonomic chair. Additionally, poor sitting posture can compress the discs in the spine and lead to premature degeneration, resulting in chronic pain.

4. Anxiety and Depression

The mental effects are less understood than some of the physical products of the session. But the risk of depression and anxiety is higher in people who spend more time sitting. This may be because the mental health benefits of exercise are lacking when you spend the day sitting instead of moving. 

5. Cancer Risk

New studies suggest that prolonged sitting may increase the risk of certain types of cancer, including lung, uterus, and colon cancers. The reasons for this are not clear.

How To Reduce The Effects Of Sitting All Day

1. Take the stairs

Taking the stairs instead of the elevator increases your heart rate, helps balance, and improves lower extremity strength. If you’re daring and have a few minutes, you can lift your heel off the edge of a step to strengthen your calf or take the steps two at a time.

2. Incorporate walk-ins

If you work from home or have opted for virtual conference calling, schedule a walk during one call per day. If you don’t need to stare at a screen looking at spreadsheets, plug in your headphones, put your phone in your pocket, and solve the world’s problems on the go. 

3. Have more sex

Yes, you are welcome. Some previous research claims that sex burns calories at a rate of around 3.1 per minute for women and approximately 4.2 calories for men. So while it’s not the same as a vigorous run, you can (surely) break a sweat during sex. Have fun, try new positions and techniques, and bond with your partner as you move further.

We are an Inspired team of writers who are passionate about writing on the topic of a healthy approach to Nutrition and Wellness. We are guided in our writing by our knowledge and experience as well as open official medical and health sources.

William is from Canada, he is passionate nutrition & wellness writer. William understands that the topic of wellness is still not well understood, so his goal is to enlighten and teach people how to live healthier and happier in their bodies.