Sitting for too much of the day has become a way of life for many people, especially those with sedentary jobs. Whether sitting in front of a computer for long hours, watching TV or playing video games, sitting for prolonged periods can negatively impact your health. This article will explore why sitting for too much of the day is bad for you and how you can take some simple steps to overcome this health pitfall.
- Increases the risk of obesity
Sitting for too long can lead to an increased risk of obesity. Sitting for long periods, your body burns fewer calories, which can lead to weight gain. In addition, sitting for prolonged periods can decrease muscle mass, which can also contribute to obesity.
- Causes poor posture
Sitting for long periods can also cause poor posture, leading to back and neck pain. Sitting for extended periods, your shoulders tend to hunch forward, leading to rounded shoulders and a forward head posture. This can cause strain on the muscles in the neck and upper back, leading to pain and discomfort.
- Increases the risk of heart disease
Sitting for too long can increase the risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that prolonged sitting can increase the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and an increased risk of heart disease. This is because when you sit, your body burns fewer calories, which can increase body fat and increase the risk of heart disease.
- Increases the risk of diabetes
Sitting for too long can also increase the risk of diabetes. When you sit for prolonged periods, your body’s ability to use insulin efficiently decreases, which can lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Increases the risk of cancer
Sitting for too long can also increase the risk of some types of cancer. Studies have shown that prolonged sitting can increase the risk of colon, endometrial, and lung cancer. This is because sitting for too long can increase inflammation in the body, which can contribute to the development of cancer.
- Causes mental health problems
Sitting for too long can also have negative impacts on your mental health. Studies have shown that prolonged sitting can lead to an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and stress. This is because when you sit for long periods, your body releases fewer feel-good hormones, such as endorphins, which can contribute to an increased risk of mental health problems.
What can I do about this?
Much of an Engineers day can be spent sitting for long periods, but there are several strategies you can adopt to avoid the negative health impacts of prolonged sitting:
- Take frequent breaks: Taking regular breaks to move your body is crucial to reducing the negative effects of prolonged sitting. Aim to take a five to ten-minute break every hour and use this time to stand up, walk around, stretch or do light exercises. Set a timer to remind you to take breaks if necessary.
- Use a standing desk: A standing desk allows you to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day. This can help reduce the time you spend sitting and improve your posture.
- Sit on an exercise ball: Sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair can help to improve your posture and engage your core muscles, which can help to reduce the negative effects of prolonged sitting.
- Use ergonomic equipment: Using ergonomic equipment, such as an ergonomic chair and keyboard, can help to reduce the strain on your body when sitting for long periods. Ergonomic equipment is designed to support your body in a neutral position, which can help reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders.
- Incorporate physical activity into your day: Regular physical activity can help to offset the negative effects of prolonged sitting. Aim to incorporate at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity into your day, such as brisk walking, cycling or swimming.
In summary, if you have a computer-based job, taking steps to reduce the negative health impacts of prolonged sitting is important. By taking frequent breaks, using a standing desk, sitting on an exercise ball, using ergonomic equipment, and incorporating physical activity into your day, you can help to reduce the risk of developing health problems associated with prolonged sitting.