The body is not built to sit for long periods of time. However, many people find themselves in jobs that cause them to spend hours on end sedentary. Whether you find yourself sitting more and more because of a job or your age, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to many serious health problems. Yet many adults find themselves sitting for 8 or 9 hours most days of the week.
For many people, it’s more since they sit at a desk at work all day, then come home to lounge in front of the TV. In between, they sit in their vehicle and finally lie down in bed at night. Far too many hours of the day are spent being inactive, and that is where the health risks come in.
The Physical Symptoms of Sitting Too Much
Sitting as much as many people do during the average day increases the chances of developing serious, sometimes chronic, health conditions. Getting up and moving is the key to helping the body regulate proteins and other body systems that lower the susceptibility to diseases in general. Here are some of the conditions you risk by spending the bulk of your time sitting.
When the body sits too long, it slows the metabolism down so that it ends up in “coasting” mode. The problem then becomes that motivation to do anything begins to lapse. Too much sitting means poor circulation and a lack of sunshine and fresh air, which can lead to fatigue, complacency, and lethargy.
A sedentary lifestyle slows the flow of blood in the legs. It’s not uncommon to experience leg pain from sitting too long. This, along with lower levels of proteins being metabolized, increases the risk of developing blood clots. The danger of blood clots is that they can be life-threatening if they move to the lungs.
Obesity and Weight Gain
Sitting at a desk all day reduces overall energy expenditure since the major muscle groups are disengaged, and the body is burning minimal calories. Over time, this leads to weight gain, which can end up causing severe obesity.
Sitting is not good for the heart, which can lead to cardiovascular disease. Movement is key to keeping the heart healthy and pumping blood and oxygen as it should. A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
If you sit all day long, your risk of developing serious health conditions like diabetes escalates greatly. It’s not just because you are burning fewer calories. Most experts think it may be due to sitting’s influence on the way the body reacts to insulin.
Neck and Back Pain
Sitting for just four hours tends to compress the discs in the lower back. When you sit for long periods of time, it becomes less likely that you will practice good posture. Poor posture often leads to problems with the discs in the neck and lower back.
Undo All Your Exercise
When you sit too much, it can actually counter all the exercise you did at the gym before coming to work in the morning. Even working out 6 or 7 hours a week, which far surpasses the recommended two to three hours, can’t reverse the negative effects of sitting for seven hours at a time. Sitting at your desk all day long without move breaks rewinds all the hard work you put in at the gym.
To be healthy, your skeleton needs to be stressed in a good way. This means weight-bearing such as walking and standing, helps build stronger bones. When you are weight-bearing, the body signals special cells to replace old bone tissue with new tissue. Sitting too much means that not enough of the old bone tissue is replaced with new. This can lead to fragile bones and a much greater risk of developing osteoporosis, especially as you age.
Cancer Risk Increases
Inactivity can cause weight gain, inflammation, and other changes in the body. Sitting just two hours at a time significantly increases your risk of endometrial and colon cancer, even if you exercise regularly. Occupations that do not require a lot of natural movement or physical activity raise individuals’ risk of cancer over those jobs that require a lot of natural movement throughout the workday.
How to Get Active When Working Long Hours
One way to combat the ill effects of long-term sitting is to mix in plenty of movement during the course of the workday. There are plenty of ways to help work more movement into your day. Whether you work in an office setting or you work at home, here are some tips to help you get more active throughout your day.
Take Short, Frequent Breaks
Don’t wait for your 30-minute or one hour break to get up and move around. Consider taking shorter, more frequent breaks. Get up and go refill your water bottle, say hello to a coworker, or go pick up your copies from the copy room instead of having them brought to your workstation. Taking a quick lap around the office, stretching at your desk, or walking in place are easy ways to incorporate movement into your workday.
Make Use of Move Reminders
It’s easy to get focused on work so that you don’t even think about getting up and moving. Most activity bands have a move reminder that you can set up to alert you that you’ve been sitting for a long period of time. The Tenon smart desk has a built-in reminder that can help remind you it’s time to get moving.
Invest in a Standing Desk
One of the greatest workplace additions of late are standing desks. An adjustable standing desk can be adjusted so you stand to work for some parts of the day and sit for others. Some office managers invest in standing desks for their workers just because they understand the health benefits of moving more and sitting less.
Try Walking Meetings
Just because you are in a meeting doesn’t mean you have to be sitting at your desk. Grab your headset or earbuds and walk outside or on the treadmill during a conference call or meeting. If you work in an office, turn your one-on-one meetings into a walking meeting.
Walk together while you discuss ideas. Walking is great for enhancing creativity and boosting mental acuity.
Sit on a Stability Ball
Instead of sitting on a typical office chair, swap it out for an exercise ball. It’s great for helping relieve back pain and improving your posture. While you are sitting on the stability ball, it’s easy to do gentle stretches that help your spine, neck, and pelvis.
How Stand-Up Desks Promote Wellness
The stand-up desk is now considered to be in the “active” furniture category. They appeal to those who are working toward a healthier, more active lifestyle. Just standing burns more calories than sitting. Standing at a desk during the workday, most people tend to shift their weight between feet, lean and twist more.
In general, the body is just more active when standing than when sitting. This is helpful for burning more calories as well. Burning more calories is generally helpful for helping reduce the risk of gaining weight and obesity.
Standing at a desk to work helps improve circulation, which is beneficial for maintaining cardiovascular health. It also prevents blood from pooling in the legs, which can help prevent blood clots. The Tenon standing desk from Beflo includes reminders that will alert you when you’ve been still or sitting for too long. It’s helpful reminders can help you move more during the day, which is generally good for your circulation and mood, and helps keep your energy levels up so you are more productive.
Some studies suggest that by exchanging a sedentary lifestyle for an active one can help increase your life expectancy. Since sitting for long periods of time can possibly increase the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. When you reduce the amount of time you sit, you lower your risk for developing these types of health issues. Ultimately, this increases your lifespan.
Finally, standing can help boost your mood and focus which results in increased productivity. When you feel well, you’re going to be in a better mood. If your work day feels like it’s dragging, and so are you, it’s the perfect time to stand and get up on your feet. You’ll feel better and be more successful and productive.
Holistic Wellbeing with Beflo
An adjustable standing desk from Beflo allows you to sit when needed and stand as much as possible to work. Their ergonomically designed standing desks help improve productivity and your overall well being from your mental health and attitude to reducing blood pressure and fighting weight gain.
The smart desk is functional and practical with built-in move reminders and numerous integrated multi-sensory features to improve your workflow and adapt to your needs and lifestyle. Take a minute to check out the modern standing and smart desk features available online at Beflo.
Posted by beflo