Everyone knows that there are health risks associated with smoking and drinking too much, but how about sitting? When it comes to seemingly innocent activities, sitting is near the top of the list, but sitting for too long is far worse than you think. If you’re working 9 to 5 at an office job, you’re probably sitting for about 8 hours a day – if not more. It’s not just people at a desk job though, even people that have more active jobs sit more than you think. Eating and watching tv are other activities that, chances are, you will be sitting for.
What’s the Big Deal?
1. Sitting is not really something our bodies are designed for. The angle at which at bodies sit puts undue pressure on your back, shoulders, and neck. Over time, sitting can hurt your posture and make you more susceptible to back injuries.
2. The main activities that come from sitting for long periods include watching television and working from a desk. If you’re main daily interaction with the outside world is through the internet or a television, this can put a damper on your social skills. It may become harder to make or keep friends and you’ll be more likely to develop feelings of depression and loneliness.
3. Sitting still burns an average of 56 calories an hour, however compared to walking and other forms of exercise, this is hardly enough to make a dent in your daily caloric intake. If you’re sedentary throughout the majority of the day, it’s very likely that you’ll become overweight or obese.
4. The chances that you will develop cancer or diabetes increase with a sedentary job or lifestyle. Your body may develop a reduced sensitivity to insulin because the body is not able to handle blood sugar as it should.
What Can You Do?
The potential results of sitting for too long are scary, but there are effective steps you can take to better your situation. If you do work at an office job, see if you can use a stand up desk or even a fitness ball to keep active throughout the day. If you must sit in an office chair, try to sit up straight and take multiple breaks throughout your day to move around. Getting up once an hour to get a drink of water will help you stay hydrated and get moving. Whenever you get home, it’s a good idea to keep active; moving directly from your work desk, to a car, to your couch is too sedentary.