After sitting for nine hours at work, the absolute last thing I want to do is sit for another hour during my commute. And yet, this seems to be a reality for most people.
Sit all day. Sit some more, with very few breaks in between. The question-mark shape of people bent over their phones or keyboard is a staple of modern society. Little do most people know, though, sitting is the new smoking.
When I was a girl, my grandmother used to warn me of the dangers of bad posture: “You’ll be hunched over like granny before your time, if you’re not careful!”
She told me that she was made to walk around with a yardstick laced behind her arms to prevent her from slumping.
Unfortunately, no one ever made me correct my sluggish posture. As a result, I’m starting to suffer the consequences. Upper and lower back pain, unsightly posture, you name it.
What I didn’t know though, is just how many effects of sitting all day there really are.
These eight alarming problems have all been linked to sitting down for too long, and they’ll have you up and jogging around the office in a flash.
Dangers Of Sitting
#1: Blood Clots
Blood clots are thick masses that form to stop the flow of blood when you get cut or injured.
This is inherently a good thing, but sometimes clots can form in the veins for reasons other than injury. According to Mayo Clinic, non-injury clots can form from smoking, pregnancy, and prolonged sitting.
#2: Heart Disease
Heart disease, probably the scariest of the sitting diseases, is a blanket term that refers to diseases caused by restricted blood flow in the veins. When you get up and move, you improve your circulation; conversely, if you sit down all day, your circulation worsens.
Sluggish blood flow can cause damage to your heart and blood vessels and lead to the development of cardiovascular diseases.
#3: Herniated Disc
Discs are the soft tissues that separate the vertebrae in your spine. A herniated disc refers to when that soft tissue get pushed out from between the vertebrae, thus pinching the nerve and causing a lot of pain.
According to the Washington Post, our tummy muscles are there to help take some of the strain off our backs by helping to support us, and if we sit for too long those muscles are not activated, which makes the spine work extra hard and can cause a herniated disc.
#4: Muscle Degradation
As mentioned before, when you stand or sit up tall, you engage your core muscles.
If you sit slouched down in your chair all day you can lose strength in those muscles and your abdomen can develop a soft or mushy appearance as a result.
Lots of people would prefer a more toned tummy, but the bigger danger is that you lose muscle strength, which makes you more vulnerable to other accidents.
#5: Angina Or Heart Attack
Angina — extreme chest tightness —and heart attack, a blood clot that forms in the coronary artery of the heart, are conditions that can occur in people who develop heart disease, according to the World Health Organization.
As detailed in the section on heart disease, being sedentary for too long is linked closely with poor circulation and heart disease.
Getting up and out of your chair helps get your heart pumping, and improves your heart health.
Contrary to popular belief, dementia is not actually a disease. Rather, it’s a term used to describe the loss of memory and reasoning skills.
Dementia can be caused by many things, including Alzheimer’s disease, but it can also be caused by vascular diseases, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
There is a correlation between being sedentary and the development of blood-flow problems. Sluggish blood flow can eventually impact your brain health.
As it turns out, sitting for too long doesn’t just lead to tight hip flexors and a sore back. It can actually give you cancer.
In an interview with ABC News, Dr. Neville Owen, Senior Principal Research Fellow at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, said:
“When you’re sitting, the big muscles, especially in lower part of body, are completely unloaded. They’re not doing their job… that inactivity prompts changes in the body’s metabolism and produces a number of biological signals, what scientists call biomarkers, which are linked to cancer.”
#8: Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot process glucose properly, so the pancreas initially overproduces insulin and is later unable to produce enough of it.
Type 2 diabetes is caused by a combination of genetics and lifestyle factors — unlike type 1 Diabetes, which is a genetic autoimmune disorder.
According to a recent study by the Annals of Internal Medicine, type 2 diabetes has a higher rate of incidence in individuals with sedentary lifestyles.
According to a panel of expert scientists interviewed by The Washington Post, some good ways to avoid health complications associated with prolonged sitting are walking around, sitting properly in your chair, sitting on an exercise ball at work rather than a traditional chair, and doing yoga poses.
If you have reason to believe you may be suffering from any of the health problems listed above, you should consult with a doctor.
( Source: LittleThings )