Updated May 29th, 2024 at 14:42 IST

Sitting For Hours At A Stretch Will Affect Your Health In These Ways

Sitting for hours at a stretch can significantly impact your health, leading to cardiovascular diseases and obesity.

Sitting For Hours At A Stretch May Be Affecting Your Health | Image:Unsplash

According to the demand of our work, many of us spend long hours sitting at desks, whether working from home or in an office. While this sedentary lifestyle may seem harmless, sitting for extended periods can have serious health consequences. Here’s how prolonged sitting affects your health and what you can do to mitigate the risks.

Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases

Prolonged sitting has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. According to a study published in the journal of the american college of cardiology, people who sit for extended periods have a higher likelihood of developing heart disease and hypertension. Sitting for long hours slows down blood circulation, leading to the build-up of fatty acids in the blood vessels, which can result in heart attacks and strokes.

Sitting idly can lead to many diseases | Image: Unsplash

Obesity and metabolic syndrome

Sitting for long periods can contribute to obesity and metabolic syndrome. The mayo clinic notes that when you sit, your muscles burn less fat, and blood flow slows, allowing fatty acids to build up more easily in your body. This inactivity can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A sedentary lifestyle also affects your body's ability to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, contributing to metabolic syndrome.

Musculoskeletal problems

Extended sitting puts stress on your spine, leading to musculoskeletal problems. Poor posture, often adopted while sitting, can cause back pain, neck strain, and shoulder issues. According to the American chiropractic association, prolonged sitting can lead to chronic back pain due to the added pressure on the lumbar discs. It can also cause muscle degeneration, particularly in the lower body, as prolonged inactivity weakens the muscles.

Mental health issues

Sitting for long hours can also negatively impact your mental health. Research published in the American journal of preventive medicine indicates that there is a correlation between prolonged sitting and increased risk of anxiety and depression. Physical inactivity can lead to a decrease in the production of endorphins, the body’s natural mood lifters, thereby contributing to feelings of stress and depression.

Sitting idly is a cause of concern | Image: Unsplash

Increased mortality risk

The overall risk of mortality increases with prolonged sitting. A study from the annals of internal medicine found that extended periods of sitting are associated with a higher risk of early death, regardless of physical activity levels. This means that even if you exercise regularly, the negative effects of sitting for long hours can still pose a significant health threat.

How to mitigate the risks

  • Stand up and move around every 30 minutes. Simple activities like stretching or walking can help improve blood circulation and reduce the risk of health issues associated with prolonged sitting.
  • If possible, switch to a standing desk to reduce the amount of time spent sitting. Alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day to promote better posture and muscle engagement.
  • Include physical activities in your daily routine. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week, as recommended by the world health organization.
  • Ensure your workstation is ergonomically set up to promote good posture. Use an adjustable chair, and position your computer screen at eye level to avoid slouching.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day. This not only keeps you hydrated but also encourages you to take regular breaks to refill your glass or use the restroom.

Published May 29th, 2024 at 14:42 IST