There’s an emerging debate on the harmful effects of prolonged sitting on our health. It’s proposed that it’s similar to how smoking damages your health and increases the risk of chronic diseases. Are you also concerned about your constant routine of prolonged sitting and looking for solutions?
There is a struggle to increase comfort in life. The mindset is the more hours I work, the more money I will make. This leads to long hours of sitting with minimal breaks. Most people are exhausted mentally and physically when they arrive home and sit and veg out on the couch. If you have a long commute, that is even more time in sitting.
Sitting is the most common body posture now. People are seated while traveling, studying, working in offices, watching screens, driving, etc.
On average, a person spends more than half a day in a sitting position (and don’t get me started on the positions – sitting on one leg, sitting with one leg up and one leg down, etc). Office workers spent many hours sitting in the same position. The same goes for students sitting in classrooms and studying for many hours.
Sitting hours are increasing, and physical activities are declining continuously. As a result, it is creating a negative impact on human health.
Harmful effects of prolonged sitting on your health:
Prolonged sitting limits the number of calories you burn. Your non-exercise activities such as walking and standing burn calories. It is called non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).
When you are in a sitting position for a prolonged period, calorie consumption is dramatically reduced. When your calorie consumption is reduced, without restricting the energy intake, your body gets flooded with additional calories converted to fats, increasing your weight.
Diabetes is a medical anomaly in which your body cannot regulate blood glucose levels. It is characterized by elevated blood glucose levels with other complications.
Weight gain and obesity are directly linked to diabetes. Obese people have greater insulin resistance and are at greater risk of developing diabetes mellitus.
Prolonged sitting on legs harms the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints of your legs and gluteal regions. These are required for walking, running, and participating in sports. If they are weakened, tight, and overstretched, the normal processes may be hampered.
Moreover, the risk of back pain and scoliosis may increase. If you sit for a prolonged period and don’t use a proper chair or sit in an ill posture, the risk multiplies as discs and bones in your spine get compressed, and spinal health is compromised.
Exercise and physical activity boost cardiovascular health, while a sedentary lifestyle and weight gain alter the blood cholesterol level and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Prolonged sitting and a sedentary lifestyle also affect mental health. A clear link between sitting and mental health isn’t established yet, but it’s observed that those who sit more have more anxiety and irritability than others.
How to overcome these problems?
Issues linked with prolonged sitting can be effectively managed if you are conscious of your health.
- Adopt the habit of taking short breaks from sitting – take a stretch break, do a set of squats, park your car farther away
- Adopt the habit of regular exercise – even if it is just 10 minutes a day, commit to being active
- Choose a comfortable chair, make workspace ergonomics a priority, and pay attention to your posture
- Be mindful of your calorie intake and calorie consumption if you have minimal physical activity
- Regular chiropractic care can assist with aligning your spine and keeping you active
The bottom line:
Prolonged sitting increases the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart problems. It also increases the risk of irritability, back pain, and scoliosis. Regular physical activity and exercise help to tackle the situation.