We all know sitting for extended periods is not good for our general well-being. This is why most of us feel a little guilty after spending long hours sitting watching the T.V. Most people however, don’t know what exactly goes wrong in our bodies and mind when we sit down for nearly eight hours per day. We spoke with the team at Living Chiropractic about a few of the health hazards associated with prolonged sitting, and what can be done to prevent them.
1. Weak Legs and Glutes
If you don’t use them, you lose them! When you sit all day, you’re not using your strong lower body muscles to support your upper body. This causes weakening of these muscles (muscle atrophy). Without strong glute and leg muscles to stabilize you, your body is at a greater risk of injury.
2. Weight Gain
Moving around makes your muscles produce molecules like lipoprotein lipase, which helps to burn the sugars and fats you eat. Prolonged sitting lessens the release of these molecules which translate to less burning of these fats and sugars. This also puts you at a greater risk of metabolic syndrome, even if you exercise.
3. Tight Hips and a Bad Back
As with your glute and leg muscles, your back and hips will also suffer from sitting. Prolonged sitting makes your hip flexors shorten, and in addition, your sitting position can also hurt your back, especially if you don’t make use of an ergonomic chair or have a bad posture. In addition to this, bad posture while sitting can lead to compression on the discs in your spine and can result in premature degeneration, which can cause chronic pain.
4. Anxiety and Depression
It is lesser known that some of more serious effects of sitting are mental effects. Studies have shown that the risk of both anxiety and depression are higher in people who sit for long hours. This is so as exercises are good for both physical and mental well-being.
5. Cancer Risk
Emerging studies shows that prolonged sitting can pose you at a greater risk of certain types of cancer, including uterine, lung, and colon cancers. The reasons behind this aren’t entirely clear.
6. Heart Disease
Prolonged sitting can maim your heart, potentially leading to cardiovascular disease. Experts suggest that people who sit for long hours have a higher risk of developing a heart attack or stroke.
7. Diabetes Risk
People who spend more time sitting have a greater risk suffering from diabetes. This is as a result of increased insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.
8. Varicose Veins
Sitting for long hours can cause blood to collect in the legs a medical condition referred to as varicose veins. Although they are generally not harmful generally themselves, these visible and swollen veins can be unsightly. In some cases, they can cause more serious conditions, like blood clots.
9. Deep Vein Thrombosis
This is a type of blood clot medical disorder that’s most common in the legs. In such a case a part of this clot breaks off, it can cut off the flow of blood to other parts of the body such as your brains, causing a stroke. This is a serious medical emergency that can cause major complications or even death.
10. Stiff Neck and Shoulders
As with your butt, legs, and lower back, your neck and shoulders will also suffer from prolonged sitting. The situation is worsened especially if you’re hunched over looking at a computer screen.
What Can You Do About It?
That said, some situations force you to sit for long hours. To alleviate the situation you can;
1. Choose a great chair.
This means that you choose a chair that does not encourage bad posture.
2. Set your desktop and monitor properly.
Make sure that the computer that you are working from is set at the appropriate height so that you do not strain while you are working.