Most people will spend almost 8 hours sitting at a desk each day for either work or study, but what they don’t know is that sitting all day has a significant impact on your physical, mental, and overall health. We’re going to have a brief look over some of the effects that can be brought about by not moving enough during the day.
One of the most common effects of not moving is weight gain. When we eat food we need to move in order to burn off the fats and sugars that we absorb, but if we stay sitting all day then these are stored in the body as excess fat. Excess weight and having an inactive lifestyle are both significant risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
When we spend too much time sitting it also affects our heart. One study found that adults who watched a screen for four hours each day, compared to those who watched a screen for two hours, had about a 125% increase in their risk of heart disease.
There is also an increase in anxiety and depression in people who sit all day. We don’t understand the link yet, but we think it may be because people aren’t receiving the positive effects of exercise.
The fastest problems to occur are usually tight hips and a sore back. When you sit for long periods the muscles on the front of your thighs become physically shorter, which makes it more difficult to stand up straight and increases pressure on your back.
What can I do?
Most people might think that spending a few hours at the gym exercising each week would counteract the effects of sitting all day, but unfortunately this is not the case. What we do know is that if you move around during the day then these effects will not be as serious. Some things to try include: standing up to eat lunch and talk on the phone, instead of sitting down for a meeting try going for a walk (which will also stimulate the flow of ideas), sitting on a gym ball, walking around during tv commercials, and stretching your hip flexors. There are also a number of free sitting timers that can be downloaded on your computer or smartphone. They remind you when it is time to get up and move around so that you can keep your body moving well.
If you would like to do some stretches to help prevent these effects, then click below.