If you work a desk job, as most of us do, you easily spend 6 or more hours of your day seated in a chair. While this feels normal and comfortable, sitting for long hours every day can actually be dangerous for health.
Your body interprets the loss of activity that comes with sitting for extended periods of time as a time to shut down. As a result, your metabolism slows, and so does your body's ability to break down body fat, regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.
Here are 5 ways sitting for too long can harm you in the long term.
Increased Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease
When you’re seated, your blood flows slower and your muscles burn less fat. This makes it easier for fats in your body to accumulate and clog your blood vessels. Excessive sitting can also cause your heart to become weaker. In the long term, this could lead to heart failure.
Increased Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
Excessive sitting can interfere with your body's ability to respond to insulin. This could lead to an increase in blood glucose levels and can subsequently lead to diabetes. Sitting for over eight hours every day has also been associated with a 90 per cent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Increased Risk Of Cancer
Sitting for long periods of time can increase your risk of developing colon, breast, and endometrial cancer. While there is no concrete evidence to support this, one explanation is that staying seated for a long time restricts regular movement that can boost antioxidants in the body. These antioxidants are responsible for eliminating potentially cancer-causing free radicals.
Reduced Brain Function
Brain function slows down when the body is inactive for large periods of time at a stretch. This is because the supply of blood and oxygen to the brain is reduced, leading to a decreased release of important performance and mood enhancing chemicals.
Needless to say, sitting for long hours at a stretch can be tough on your body. The seated position puts massive stress on the back muscles, the neck, and the spine. The stress is much worse when you slouch. Sitting for too long, even in the right posture, can cause neck strain, sore shoulders and backaches.
While sitting at work is unavoidable, it is important to make a conscious effort to get up from your chair and walk around every 30 minutes. In addition to this, consider adding a little more walking into your day by walking to the office, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and taking a longer route to your desk.
You can even try working at a standing desk for a part of the day or try walking while you speak on your phone instead of staying seated.