Quit the Sit: How Sitting Too Much Can Affect Your Health￼
Posted on September 15, 2022 by Iliana Stoilova
The old saying, “When you rest, you rust” becomes more evident as we age. With the societal shift to more remote jobs and working from home, sitting for extended periods of time has become the norm and makes an impact on our overall health. To prevent risks from sedentary habits, let’s examine how too much sitting or inactivity can affect us and what we can do about it.
Lack of physical activity is a major factor in many cases of cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in both men and women. If you start to notice your legs and feet are swelling, aching or tingling on a regular basis, this could be an indication of blood pooling in those areas from long periods of uninterrupted sitting. A decline in movement and proper circulation can lead to clots and other vascular issues related to your heart. Doctors suggest moving about at least every 30-60 minutes, whether it’s a quick walk around your office or a dance break in your living room. Anything is better than nothing at all. Also, compression socks are great for keeping your blood circulating smoothly while sitting at your desk or during long flights and road trips.
Lingering Back Aches
Poor posture combined with prolonged sitting can be disastrous for your lower back, spine, shoulders and hips. “Tech Neck” and slouching while looking at your computer or mobile device is also a common issue that leads to your body being misaligned and weakening your core muscles. Having a proper ergonomic work station (desk and chair) and being aware of when your body is tense (clenched jaw, tight hip flexors, etc.) can help to alleviate these ailments. Lumbar rolls or a rolled-up towel on the small of your back does wonders as well.
Weakened Bones & Osteoporosis
Inactivity and excessive periods of sitting also does a number on your bones, causing them to become brittle, and potentially leads to osteoporosis. Your musculoskeletal system is a delicate balance between your muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones, and much like a garden, you must tend to and nurture your body for optimal function and an overall healthier life.
It’s no secret that a sedentary lifestyle usually includes a lot of Netflix, scrolling and snacking. Constant snacking plus inactivity is a surefire path to unwanted weight gain. Incorporating healthier snacks, moderation and smaller meal portions, combined with bursts of movement throughout your day can stave off those extra pounds.
Numerous studies show that sitting for extended periods of time and living a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes as well as various cancers. Standing happens to burn twice as many calories as sitting, so get in the habit of standing up and moving your body at least once every hour while working.
Varicose Veins & DVT
Sitting for long hours without movement can cause unsightly varicose veins or spider veins (a smaller version of varicose veins) to form, or even more serious conditions like deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that forms in the veins of your leg. DVT is problematic, because if the clot disperses, it can move to other parts of your body and clog up blood flow, especially to your lungs, which can cause a pulmonary embolism.
Stretch It Out
30 minutes of deep stretching when you wake up and right before bed is a cathartic and enjoyable way to prepare your body for the day and fend off those aches and pains from uninterrupted sitting. It promotes relaxation, flexibility and good circulation. Midday stretches are a plus too!
Raise Your Desk/Walk It Out
Investing in a sit-to-stand desk or an under-desk treadmill is a fun and efficient way to get your steps in during the workday. Not only will it increase your endorphins and get your body moving, but it will also increase your productivity!
Movement For Better Brain & Body Function
Starting your morning with a quick walk around your neighborhood or even in your home helps to oxygenate your blood and stimulates good circulation to your brain. This has a domino effect, giving you more energy, boosting your adrenaline and all of your happy hormones (dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins).
Starting small and incorporating better habits into your daily routine will reap countless benefits that your future self will certainly appreciate. If you’re interested in learning more, reach out to our X-Force Body fitness experts, who are ready to help you on your journey to better health!
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