The tech industry has grown phenomenally over the last 40 years. As a result, countless millions of people spend over 10 hours every day hunched over their desks working on screens. While, many may really like this kind of work, it does come at a cost. And the cost comes from the health consequences of sitting for such long periods of time.
Consequence of Prolonged Sitting
So what happens when you sit for such long times. First of all, long periods of physical inactivity causes you to put on weight. In fact, sitting for long periods decreases lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity. Consequently, because the body isn’t able to burn fat, fat accumulates in the body.
Next, prolonged sitting slows down the circulation of blood. As a result, blood may start to pool in your legs and feet. And this can result in swollen ankles, varicose veins, or even blood clots. Furthermore, the combination of poor blood circulation and reduced burning of fat, increases the chances of fatty acids blocking heart arteries. The poor blood circulation also means your brain doesn’t get enough blood and oxygen. So your brain functions slow down. And when the brain doesn’t get enough glucose, brain cells start to get damaged.
Also, you may end up with high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and even cardiovascular diseases. In fact, studies have shown that men spending more than 23 hours a week watching TV had a 64 percent greater risk of suffering from heart disease.
Next, sitting all day weakens muscles in the midsection and lower body. As a result the body’s ability to hold you up when sitting or keep you stable when walking suffers.
In addition, a 2017 study concluded that there is a higher risk of diabetes when people spend long periods of time sitting. This is because muscle mass decreases from extended sitting. As a result insulin sensitivity decreases, which means cells respond more slowly to insulin. And the weaker the body’s sensitivity to insulin, the higher the likelihood of getting diabetes.
Moreover, prolonged sitting and slouching creates problems for your neck, shoulders, back, and hips. Indeed, your neck and shoulders curve and stiffen. And, as it absorbs pressure, your spine loses its flexibility. Furthermore, the longer your sit with a bad posture, the more you will experience chronic pain in the neck, shoulders, back, hips, and legs.
Finally, prolonged sitting causes anxiety and depression. Indeed, because prolonged sitting limits exposure to the sun you end up with vitamin D deficiency. Similarly, because prolonged sitting limits social interactions you may developstrong feelings of loneliness.
Paradoxically, research shows that going to the gym and working out is not enough to overcome the problems created by extended sitting. So the best way to avoid problems arising from extended sitting is to be active throughout the day.
- First of all, take breaks often
- Next, using a desk exercise machine helps moving your feet and legs
- Meanwhile, stand up whenever you get a chance and definitely at every interruption
- Also, if possible, take a walk with your coworker to discuss things
- Next, don’t forget to keep your water bottle half full so that you can get up to refill it
- And, weather permitting, step outside for a quick walk at lunch time
- Also, every time the phone rings, get up and walk around in your office space
- Finally, set your cell phone to ring every 30 minutes and walk in place when it does.
Taking proactive steps to counter the effect of extended sitting, will not only allow you to work better, it will also help make you healthier.