The Health Risks of Sitting All Day
What Happens to Your Body When You Sit All Day Long?
The human body is not designed to sit eight hours or more in a day. Too much sitting and being inactive is definitely bad for your overall health. This may lead to serious health problems, especially if the person does not exercise and eat unhealthy foods. Most often, people don’t have a choice because their job requires them to sit down for many hours each day. Their lifestyle choices can also be a factor that keeps them inactive and sitting in front of the television or the computer all day or all night.
In 2 minutes or less, you can get the diet plan that will turn your body into a fat burning machine.
Here is what happens to your body when you sit all day long:
- Your brain function starts to slow down – This means you are not alert and you find it hard to think and solve complex problems. The blood circulation in your body tends to slow down when you are not doing anything. This affects your brain function, thus it cannot function quickly and efficiently.
- Your muscles burn less fat and blood flows sluggishly – Again, being idle results in sluggish blood flow. This also has adverse effects on how your body burns fat. This is the reason why many people, who don’t have an active lifestyle, gain weight and become obese.
- Cells in idle muscle do not respond quickly to insulin, which can lead to diabetes – Doctors advice people with diabetes to have a healthier and more active lifestyle. If your family has a history of diabetes, then you need to move more and find a workout routine that is most suitable for you.
- Sitting all day overextends the shoulder and back muscles causing soreness and back pain – this is common for people working in the office and sitting for many hours in front of the computer. Since they are so much focused on their work, they forget about their posture. The buildup of tension and stress in the shoulder and back muscles will cause severe soreness and back pain. Read More – Yoga Poses For Back Pain
- Sitting too many strains the cervical vertebrae causing imbalance – this also applies to people who spend the whole day sitting in their office. When working with computers, you usually crane your neck forward to look at the screen or the keyboard. Or maybe you are used to cradling a phone while typing. This can put a lot of stress in your cervical vertebrae, which causes strained neck. You often see people massaging their neck after a long day at work. This is the most probable cause of neck stiffness.
- Muscle degeneration – You cannot build muscles if you are always sitting down. After several weeks you will notice that your muscles are slowly fading and you are not as fit as before. This is not a good sign and it means that you have to change your lifestyle and be more active.
- Decreased hip mobility – Sitting down too often is bad for your hips because the hip flexors are not being used. You will notice that your hip is not flexible anymore and your stride is very limited.
- Softening of your glutes – The reason you should work out your glutes is not only to look good but also to strengthen your stability and your ability to push off. Sitting down all day can soften your glutes, which affects your stability and stride.
- Poor circulation in legs – Blood circulation is once again mentioned here. This indicates that being active plays a huge part in having a healthy blood flow within your body. This extends to all parts, from your brain down to your legs and feet.
- Lack of activity may cause softer bones – Being idle not only cause muscle degeneration, it also makes your bones soft and brittle. You may be consuming calcium for bone health, but you also need to be more physically active to work out the bones. Remember that one of the main causes of osteoporosis is lack of activity.
- The soft disks between the vertebrae are squashed unevenly – Moving causes the vertebrae to expand and contract, which soaks up nutrients and blood. If you are always sitting down, the disks between the vertebrae are squashed unevenly causing inflexible spine.
DID YOU KNOW? Diabetes is a related disease caused by too much sitting.
The Effects of Too Much Sitting On Different Areas of the Body
Most people think that sitting down is not causing them any harm. There is nothing wrong with sitting down. However, if you stay there in your chair or couch for 3 to 5 hours without standing up, then it will definitely be harmful to your body. The effects of sitting all day apply to all parts of your body, from your brain down to your feet.
When the body is active, the muscles continuously pump fresh blood and oxygen to the brain. This also triggers the release of brain and mood enhancing chemicals. If the body is idle and sedentary for several hours, the blood becomes sluggish, which makes the brain function slowly.
This concerns people who are working in front of the computer for eight hours or more. When you constantly crane your neck forward towards the screen or keyboard of your computer, it puts a lot of stress and strain on your cervical vertebrae and leads to permanent imbalance or strained neck.
Shoulders and Back
Sitting for long hours often forces you to slump forward, which overextends your shoulder and back muscles. This causes shoulder and back pain and the trapezius muscle, which connects the neck and shoulders, become sore.
Sitting all day also causes inflexible spine. Your spine is composed of soft discs between vertebrae that expand and contract like sponges. When you sit for a long time, these soft discs are squashed unevenly, and then collagen hardens around the tendons and ligaments, which lead to inflexible spine.
Being idle or sitting all day causes the muscles to burn less fat and blood flows sluggishly. This allows the fatty acids to clog the heart, which can lead to heart disease. Other health conditions that are caused by too much sitting include high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol level.
When your muscles are idle, your cells don’t respond quickly to insulin. This means that your pancreas has to produce more insulin, which can lead to diabetes and other debilitating diseases.
Studies have shown that sitting for long hours can put you at risk of developing colon, breast, and endometrial cancers. The reason behind this is that the pancreas produces excess insulin that leads to cancer cell growth. Being idle also inhibit the natural antioxidants in your body to destroy free radicals that cause cancer. Read More – Colon Cleansing: Home Remedies for Colon Cleansing
Abdominal muscles keep you upright when you are standing, walking, or running. When you are slumped down in your chair, your abdominal muscles are not working at all. This can cause mushy abs and tight back muscles that can affect your posture.
Your hips become tight because of decreased mobility due to too much sitting. Your hips need to be flexible to keep you balanced. However, for people who sit for eight hours a day, their hip flexor muscles are not being extended and used, which limits its range of motion and stride length. Studies have shown that decrease in the mobility of the hips is one of the reasons why elderly people does not have good balance and tend to fall down.
Your glutes are also inactive when you are sitting down. When your glutes get used to sitting down, it becomes softer and limp. This affects your stability and ability to push off, and maintain a powerful stride.
Sitting down for long periods causes poor blood circulation in your legs. Being idle means your blood circulates slowly and pools down on your legs. This can lead to leg disorders such as swollen ankles, varicose veins, and the very dangerous deep vein thrombosis or DVT.
Bones in the Lower Body
Walking and running helps to strengthen and fully condition your lower bones to grow thicker and denser. Your hip and leg bones should be strong and healthy enough to carry your whole weight. Chronic sitting promotes softer bones on your lower body, which can also lead to osteoporosis.
Related Diseases Caused By Too Much Sitting
It is very surprising to know that the health risks of sitting all day are so many. Most of these health conditions are serious diseases that cannot be ignored, and it may even result in death if not treated early. If you are feeling some symptoms of these diseases, or you already have them, you need to stop this habit of sitting down too much. These are just some of the diseases that are caused by sitting all day and being idle.
Sore shoulders – this is caused by wrong posture and overextension of the shoulder and back muscles. The trapezium, which connects the shoulder and neck, accumulates tension and stress that leads to sore shoulders. Practice correct posture and try to stand up once in a while to flex your arms, back, shoulders, and neck. Keeping the blood flowing also works to avoid muscle soreness.
Back pain – slouching and slumping on your chair can cause extreme back pain, usually in the lower part. If you experience this too often after sitting all day at the office, maybe it’s time to replace your chair or stand up every couple of minutes and walk around.
Diabetes – too much sitting down is linked to diabetes. When the muscles are idle, it does not respond efficiently with insulin, which increases the risk of developing diabetes. Being idle also affects the sugar and fat metabolism, which can lead to diabetes and other health problems.
Osteoporosis – bones become weak when the body is not active. Your spine and your lower bones are not stimulated, which hinders its ability to grow thicker, denser, and stronger. This can lead to osteoporosis and other bone problems.
Varicose veins – too much sitting down can cause poor circulation in your legs. This will lead to varicose veins.
Swollen ankles – being idle causes the blood to flow slowly and it may even accumulate in your legs causing your ankles to get swollen. You shouldn’t let this happen frequently because it can lead to other more serious diseases.
Deep vein thrombosis – this is also related to the poor blood circulation in the legs. The Deep Vein Thrombosis, or DVT, is a very dangerous form of a blood clot caused by the slowing down of the blood flow.
Colon cancer – the health risks of sitting all day can include serious diseases that include colon cancer. Scientists explain that when your body is active, it helps the body to boost the natural antioxidants that can fight off and kill free radicals that can cause colon cancer.
High blood pressure – the combination of sluggish blood flow and less burning of fats can lead to high blood pressure. Fatty acids can also clog the arteries, which cause the pressure to rise.
High cholesterol levels – when the body fails to burn off all the fats, it can clog the heart and cause elevated cholesterol levels. The more you sit down and become sedentary, the more you increase your chance of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Herniated lumbar disk – having a herniated lumbar disk is very painful. The disk becomes too weak and the pain radiates from the butt and down to the legs. The combination of sitting too long and having the wrong posture can lead to herniated lumbar disk.
Obesity – if sitting down too long can affect your metabolism, it can definitely lead to weight gain. Being sedentary is definitely not recommended if you want to lose weight. Get moving and follow a daily exercise routine to counter obesity and weight gain.
Slower metabolism – spending too much time on your chair is bad for your metabolism. When your metabolism slows down, the body’s ability to burn calories and fat is affected. This leads to different problems, especially obesity and cardiovascular diseases.
Depression – being idle too long can lead to depression. Non-activity and too much sitting down inside the house or office can cause vitamin D deficiency, which ultimately leads to depression. Doing physical exercise and sports activities can counteract depression because your brain releases hormones that help you feel better.
Osteoarthritis – the main symptom of osteoarthritis is pain and stiffness in your joints. It can occur in your hips, knees, and other joint areas. If you feel stiffness in these areas after long hours of sitting down, you should visit your doctor immediately. This is a serious health condition that should never be ignored.
Heartburn – after eating your lunch, it is recommended to avoid sitting down for too long. Sitting all day can cause sluggish digestion, which leads to heartburn. Sitting down after a meal can trigger heartburn.
Constipation – if you settle in your chair too soon after your meal, it leads to compression of the contents of your stomach and slows down the digestion process resulting in constipation.
Digestive disorders – do not sit down too long after your meal because it affects your digestion. You are putting too much pressure on your abdomen when you sit down for several hours. Your blood flow also becomes sluggish, which makes things worse inside your body. Digestive disorders, cramps, heartburn, and constipation can be avoided if you try to walk around or stand up once in a while after your meal.
Muscle degeneration – idleness is the opposite of being active and doing strenuous exercise that builds the muscles. If you are used to sitting all day, it means you are not using your muscles. Muscle degeneration can affect your mobility, stability, and strength. Losing your muscles can also affect your confidence and lowers your self-esteem. This will then lead to the weaker immune system, which will make you susceptible to other viral diseases.
Weak bones – this has already been discussed here but it is important to point out this issue because weak bones can be a major health problem if not treated immediately. This can lead to other serious diseases such as osteoporosis. Be more active so that your bones can grow strong, dense, and thick, especially in your hips, legs, and feet. Consume more milk and other dairy products for your daily source of calcium.
7 Ways to Avoid Sitting for a Long Time
If you don’t want to get sick, then it’s time to stand up and move. When you feel sluggish, weak and irritable, it means you’ve been stuck in your chair for a long time. Sometimes all you need is a little motivation and inspiration to start moving again and have a much more active lifestyle. Create a daily routine or habit that will allow you to stand up more and avoid sitting for a long time. You can buy exercise tools that will help you work out your hips, legs, and butt. You can also use gadgets that will remind you that you need to get up. There are so many ways that can help you stop this practice of sitting down for many hours. Practice self-discipline and willpower so you can overcome this bad habit.
Use an Exercise Ball
If you cannot avoid sitting too long in the office, you can just use an exercise ball instead of the usual office chair. By sitting on an exercise ball, you are continuously working out your core muscles while you are working. Just be sure to sit up straight and your feet are flat on the floor in front of you. This will also help your balance and flexibility. Of course, it is still considered sitting, so you have to stand up once in a while and walk around.
Alternate Between Sitting and Standing
Remind yourself to stand up every half hour to walk around or you can also use a timer. If you are at your workstation, you can alternate your sitting and standing while you are working. If you have a phone call, stand up and walk around. In the office, you can walk to your coworkers down the hall instead of sending them an email. You can also rearrange the layout of your office so that you are forced to stand up when taking a phone call, using a printer, or just throwing something in the trash bin.
Set a Goal
Set a goal of 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day to keep you moving throughout the day. You can track the number of your steps so you can complete your goal for the day. You can do this by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking your car far from the entrance so you have to walk.
Stand Up or Do Exercise While Watching TV
Many people are guilty of spending too much time slouched on the sofa and watching television. Next time that you watch your favorite TV show, try standing up or doing some exercise routine. Or when the commercial break comes, stand up and walk around.
Consider a Standing Workstation
You can ask your boss if you can have a standing workstation in the office. With a standing workstation, you won’t have to spend your entire shift sitting down.
Hold A Walking Meeting
When holding a meeting, you can skip the conference room and ask your colleagues to join you in walking around. A walking meeting keeps your mind and body active, which allows you to be more productive.
Exercise Affected Body Parts
The parts of your body that are usually affected by sitting all day are your hips, back, shoulder, and legs. Try exercising those body parts several times a day to avoid soreness and pain. Stretch your hip flexors for 3 minutes once a day. You can also try yoga poses during breaktimes, such as the cow and cat pose, to improve the extension of your back and reduce back pain. Read More – The Standing Diet – Lose Belly Fat With Unusual Trick, Daily Workout Plan: The Workout Routine That Will Keep You Fit ,Workout Program – Get Your Dream Body Now
Correct Sitting Posture