Do you have a job that requires you to sit at a desk all day? If so, you’re not alone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 60% of American jobs require sitting. And while there are certainly some benefits to working in an office environment, spending too much time seated can also be dangerous to your health. This blog post will look at some of the health risks associated with prolonged sitting.
Diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot properly use or produce insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. Diabetes can lead to serious health complications, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. People with diabetes are also at increased risk for infection and nerve damage. Suppose you have family members who have diabetes. In that case, you’re also at increased risk for developing the condition.
Sitting for long periods can increase your risk for heart disease. One of the most common causes of death in the United States, heart disease, is when the heart muscle is weakened or blocked and can no longer pump blood effectively. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women and accounts for one in four deaths in the United States. Heart disease can lead to serious health complications, including heart attack, stroke, and congestive heart failure.
Being inactive has been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer, breast cancer, and uterine cancer. Cancer is a group of diseases that occur when cells in the body become abnormal and begin to grow out of control. Some common treatments for cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or targeted therapy. While there is no one cause of cancer, lifestyle choices such as diet, smoking, and physical activity may play a role in its development.
Lower Back Pain
Prolonged sitting can also lead to lower back pain. When we sit for long periods, our hip flexors and hamstrings become tight, while our glutes and abs muscles become weak. This can cause the pelvis to tilt forward, which puts stress on the spine. Your lower back is especially vulnerable to pain and injury when this happens. Additionally, prolonged sitting can lead to disc degeneration and arthritis in the spine.
Sitting for long periods can also lead to weak bones. When we sit, we don’t use the large muscles in our legs and buttocks as much as when we stand or walk. As a result, these muscles become weaker and less effective at moving calcium into our bones. Over time, this can lead to bone loss and an increased risk of osteoporosis. You can help protect your bones by taking regular breaks to move around and stretch. Also, try incorporating more calcium into your diet.
Depression And Anxiety
Prolonged sitting has also been linked to depression and anxiety. One possible explanation for this is that when we sit all day, our bodies produce less serotonin, which is associated with mood and emotional balance. Additionally, when we’re inactive, we tend to focus more on negative thoughts and feelings than when we’re active. If you feel depressed or anxious, try breaking up your day with a quick walk or some other form of physical activity.
Varicose veins are a common problem that can occur when the valves in the veins that carry blood back to the heart become weakened and fail to close properly. When this happens, it allows blood to pool in the veins, leading to swelling, pain, and a heavy feeling in the legs. Prolonged sitting increases the risk for varicose veins. To help prevent them, try getting up every hour or so to move around and stretch. Also, make sure you wear supportive shoes and avoid wearing tight clothing around your waistband.
The final danger of prolonged sitting is that it can reduce your lifespan. When we sit for long periods, our bodies produce less of the hormone adiponectin, which helps regulate blood sugar and fat levels. Adiponectin can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Additionally, research has shown that people who spend more time sitting are at greater risk for early death than those who move around more often.
So What Can You Do?
While it’s not always possible to avoid sitting altogether, there are some things you can do to reduce the health risks associated with prolonged sitting:
- Set a timer to remind you to get up and move around every 30 minutes.
- Stand up or walk around for at least five minutes each hour.
- Take regular breaks to stretch your muscles.
- Incorporate more movement into your day, such as standing while you work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and walking during your lunch break.
- Invest in a standing desk or treadmill desk.
Sitting for long periods is not suitable for your health. It can lead to various health risks, including heart disease, cancer, lower back pain, weak bones, depression and anxiety, and a shorter lifespan. While it’s not always possible to avoid sitting altogether, there are some things you can do to reduce the health risks associated with prolonged sitting. Talk to your doctor or health care provider about strategies to reduce your risk of sitting-related health problems.