How Harmful Is Prolonged Sitting?

Do we know how a sedentary lifestyle affects the body?

Heart disease

Sitting for long periods has been linked to heart disease. One study found that people who watch more than 23 hours of television a week have a 64% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases.

Some experts say that people who are inactive and sit for long periods have a 147% higher risk of heart attack or stroke.

Diabetes

Studies have shown that even five days lying in bed can increase insulin resistance in your body. Research suggests that people who spend more time sitting have a 112% higher risk of diabetes.

Legs and gluteals (bum muscles)

Sitting for long hours can lead to the weakening of the large leg and gluteal muscles. These are essential for walking and stability. If these muscles are weak, you are more likely to injure yourself from falls and strains when you do exercise.

Weight

Moving your muscles helps your body digest the fats and sugars you eat. If you spend a lot of time sitting, digestion is not as efficient, so you retain fat content in your body.

Even if you exercise but spend a large amount of time sitting, you are still risking your health. Latest research suggests that you need 60–75 minutes per day of moderate-intensity activity to combat the dangers of excessive sitting.

Hips and back

Sitting causes your hip flexor muscles to shorten, leading to problems with your hip joints and also cause problems with your back, especially if you consistently sit with poor posture or don’t use an ergonomically designed chair or workstation.

Poor posture may also cause poor spine health, such as compression in the discs in your spine, leading to premature degeneration, which can be very painful.

Anxiety and depression

Although the cause is unknown, the risk of anxiety and depression is higher in people who sit more. This might be because people who spend a lot of time sitting are missing the positive effects of physical activity and fitness.

Cancer

Emerging studies suggest that sitting dangers include increasing your chances of developing some types of cancers (lung, uterine, and colon). The reason behind this is, however, unknown.

Varicose veins

Sitting for long periods can lead to varicose veins because sitting causes blood to pool in your legs.

Deep vein thrombosis

Sitting for too long can cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT), for example, on a long plane or car trip. DVT can also cause pulmonary embolism- a medical emergency that can lead to major complications or even death.

Stiff neck and shoulders

If you spend your time hunched over a computer keyboard, this can lead to pain and stiffness in your neck and shoulders.

Takeaway Points

Humans are built to stand upright.

When you are physically active- your overall energy levels and endurance improve, and your bones maintain strength.

The less sitting or lying down you do during the day, the better your chances for living a healthy life.

Walking, cycling, dancing, swimming, yoga, using the stairs instead of the lift, taking short breaks every 30 minutes, doing some activity and staying active, etc., can help save your health from the dangers of sitting.

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