The risks of prolonged sitting are quite varied, and you might not be aware of some of them. Here are eight of the main health problems that come from being sat down all day.
If you sit at your desk all day, you are not being kind to your body! You might assume that all that inactivity would cause you to gain weight (it does) but that is only scratching the surface. There are actually a whole host of health problems that can be caused by too much sitting. Here are some of the most common risks of sitting all day, listed from head to feet:
1 SLOWED BRAIN FUNCTION
Sitting down for a long time causes the blood to move more slowly through your body. This means your brain gets less fresh oxygen, causing you to feel sluggish and uninspired; the last thing you want when you’re trying to get through a day of work!
Another effect of not getting enough fresh blood to the brain is that it gets slower at releasing chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, which help improve your mood. This means that spending a lot of time sat down can give you the blues, which can in turn become depression if left unchecked.
3 SORE NECK AND SHOULDERS
Whether you’re typing on a keyboard or writing things down by hand, you will likely have a slumped-over posture that is bad for your neck and shoulders. In the worst cases, this can lead to strained vertebrae.
4 HEART DISEASE
Your muscles don’t burn as much fat while you’re sat down, and one effect of this is that fatty acids can clog the blood vessels surrounding the heart more easily. This can lead to high cholesterol and eventually heart disease.
Another thing your body doesn’t do well while sat down is process insulin. This hormone helps your body use glucose for energy, but while you’re sat down your muscles don’t tend to respond to it as well as if you were active. Your pancreas just keeps producing the hormone, and this can lead to type 2 diabetes.
6 BACK PROBLEMS
If you’re slumped forward over the desk, your back is being stretched but your abdominal muscles are being extremely relaxed. This leads to bad posture in general, and puts your spine in an uncomfortable position that can cause long-term back pain.
When you’re on an aeroplane, you’re encouraged to move around so you don’t develop a blood clot in your legs, known as a deep-vein thrombosis or DVT. The same risk is present while you’re sat down at work, as the blood pumping through your legs slows down due to inactivity.
8 WEAK LEG BONES
If you don’t use your legs on a regular basis, the bones inside will not be stimulated to become thicker and stronger. This can lead to a condition called osteoporosis, which involves your bones becoming brittle.