Is Sitting For too Long Harmful?
Spending too much time on an office desk, possibly to meet a deadline or impress a superior, will do you more harm than you know. Sitting for long in front of the computer or any other extended sitting such as behind the wheel or TV may not only result in a widened rear end, bad hips and thighs, obesity, or weak leg muscles, but may also reduce your life span.
According to medical researchers and experts, this includes lying down for too long without major bodily movements. In the experts’ conclusion, when the total sedentary time increases, so does an early death by any cause.
How long is sitting too long?
When you sit for long periods in a hunched or upright posture, without taking a 30 minutes break every 2 to 3 hours, you will limit the amount of oxygen flow to your heart because of compressed lungs. Sitting upright for shorter periods is fine, but when it extends beyond 6 hours with no break, you risk shortening your lifespan.
There are risks despite being at the gym often!
What are the health risks of sitting at a desk all day?
Various health risks may occur to your body if you spend long hours behind your computer doing that freelance gig.
1. Increased Cardiovascular risks
Less oxygen intake because sitting for too long causes blood circulation to slow down; this means less oxygen to your brain and low concentration. In prolonged periods of less oxygen in the body called hypoxia, some tissue may lose its function due to a lack of enough oxygen-rich blood flow. This may hurt your heart and possibly result in cardiovascular health risks such as heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, among other sitting too long side effects.
Spending some time in the gym or exercising is a very healthy activity that may put off these conditions. However, not taking the precaution of not sitting for long hours without breaks doesn’t help. Since cardiovascular diseases are a risk factor for early death, sitting for too long can well be seen as a “silent killer”.
2. Depression and memory loss
Reduction in blood circulation makes it hard for the hormones associated with good feelings to make their way to your receptors. Spending many hours not doing any physical activity means you are reducing the size of your social life. Memory loss occurs because of a slowed-down brain function. This can lead to loneliness, depression, anxiety, and lower mental well-being.
3. Lower back pain and altered posture
Sitting in a slouched or hunched over position can put strains on the discs (fluid-filled cushions that protect the vertebrae from rubbing together. Because of the long hours of inadequate sitting positions, the lower back may be put under increased pressure from gravity and fatigue leading to lower back pain. This can increase the risks of an altered posture and alignment which can lead to neck pain, shoulder spurs or impingement syndrome, trigger points, and even disc degeneration.
4. Increases the risks of diabetes
According to various conducted researches, the strongest risk of prolonged sitting is diabetes. Being sedentary means fewer calories are being burned. This may change the way your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that helps it burn sugar and carbohydrates. In a sedentary setting, the insulin levels can be raised and enzyme activity decreased, resulting in diabetes. It is, therefore, important for people with type 2 diabetes or those at risk of the disease to avoid sitting for long hours without taking breaks.
5. Deep Vein Thrombosis risks
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a clot that will form in your leg if you have the habit of sitting for long hours in front of your computer. If the clot breaks free and lodges in your heart, it may be life-threatening. DVT may or may not manifest symptoms (swelling and pain).
6 Sitting for long hours causes Obesity
Metabolism and the body’s ability to metabolize fat are reduced when one sits for long hours without being active. From conducted research, you burn 30 percent more calories when standing than when sitting. It is, therefore, recommended to be physically active so as to decrease the health risks of being overweight, which in turn, may trigger other critical conditions.
From several pieces of research conducted, it is seen that sitting or lying down for long hours without physical engagement increases the risks of lung cancer by 54%, uterine cancer by 66%, and colon cancer by 30%.
8. Overall mortality is adversely affected by sitting for long hours
You can also die because of any disease by 49% compared to one who avoids sitting for long inactive hours. From a vast number of conducted researches on the same; people who sat for less than 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk of early death. This concludes that the price of living an inactive lifestyle is high!
How to be Active
Powerful Tips to Avoid Sitting for long hours
A sedentary lifestyle may seem hard to avoid, but its cost is too much and can be expensive in the future. This calls for the need to change one’s lifestyle to an active one.
Outlined below are some tips that you can use to avoid sitting or lying for too long in any situation, whether at the office, college, or home.
- You can take short breaks from your computer or gigs and perform a random activity such as going to the kitchen for a glass of cool juice or to the bathroom. To achieve this, avoid working with a drink closely.
- You can use the staircase instead of the lift at work.
- Another important tip, whether you are a student or a worker, is to plan your work schedule well enough such that you don’t have a workload that demands long working hours.
- Instead of watching a favorite movie series all day long, play a favorite music channel and dance to the rhythms of the music after watching 2 to 3 episodes of a movie. This is a great way to burn calories, ensure a healthy lifestyle, and great enjoyment.
- One can play video games that involve physical activities. This can be fun and may involve children or other family members.
- When at home you can do some physical activities within the house or compound such as interior design and painting, lawn mowing, planting and watering flowers, and other outdoor activities.
- Another great and creative way to avoid sitting or lying for long while at home includes buying a magnetic dartboard online to play darts with family members.
- Spending some time in the kitchen is also great for staying engaged and active. One can make new delicious recipes, do the dishes, and perform other cleaning activities within the kitchen.
- A visit to the gym or a home workout can be used to burn out any extra calories.
Finally, to increase your life span and suppress any cardiovascular conditions risks because of sitting for long hours, having a personal set of rules and self-discipline is crucial. When you feel that you have sat or laid down for long periods, taking personal breaks is important for your health’s sake.