Health hazards of sitting for long hours
You use very little energy when you sit compared to when you stand. According to studies, there is a close link between sitting for long periods and health issues.
Sitting with too many symptoms increases the risk of death. You would have higher chances of getting cancer or cardiovascular diseases. Any form of extended sitting might be harmful such as sitting behind the wheels or at a desk.
Statistically, the chance of a person dying because of obesity and smoking is the same as one dying due to lesser physical activities!
You can opt for moderately intense physical activity for 60 to 75 hours to prevent this. In fact, if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you would have a 22-49% higher possibility of dying sooner.
There is a need for more studies. It can help to determine the effects of sitting and activities on our health. However, it is evident that sitting less and moving more overall can help in better health.
You may start the process by standing simply and avoid sitting. Or else, find ways to stand more and walk whenever you are at work.
Impact on your health
Even leisurely movements can bring about profound results. To start off, you will get the chance to burn a lot of calories. This procedure can also help to lose weight and increase your energy.
Also, physical activeness helps one move freely, maintaining muscle tone. It would have a good impact on your mental health, too, significantly when your age increases.
Overall, sitting for long periods has both short-term and long-term impacts on your body and health. Many people get stomach cramps from sitting too long as well. Various health issues can happen due to sitting for long hours in one position. Some of them are:
- High blood sugar
- Increased blood pressure
- Abnormal cholesterol levels
- Fat around the waist
- Cardiovascular diseases
Indeed, there are a lot of health problems that happen due to long sitting hours. Read the points below to understand what possible issues you may face after sitting for a long period:
- Weak glutes and legs
When you are not using them, you are actually losing them. Certainly, when you opt to sit for long hours, your lower-body muscles are staying stagnant. This can result in muscular atrophy, which is basically the weakening of the muscles.
This increases the risk of injury for your body without the strong glute muscles and legs to give support.
- Gain weight
When you move, it causes your muscles to release some molecules. These molecules include lipoprotein lipase, which helps to process the sugars and fats that you eat.
When you sit for a longer time, there is much less release of such molecules. So, this increases the risk of gaining more weight or becoming obese. In fact, research shows that people who turned obese generally sit 2 hours more than a regular-weight person.
Moreover, there is also a greater risk of metabolic syndrome despite exercising regularly.
- Bad back and tight hips
Your backs and hips suffer a lot when you sit for long hours. Indeed, it causes a shortening of your hip flexors and can also hurt your back. This especially happens when you do not use an ergonomic chair or sit in a bad posture.
Here, the discs of your spine undergo compression when you have extremely bad postures of sitting. Therefore, it can result in premature degeneration and, ultimately that results in chronic pain.
- Depression and anxiety
Sitting for long hours can also affect your mental health badly at the same time. Certainly, the risk of both anxiety and depression is higher for people who sit for long hours.
Indeed, running or other forms of exercise secrete endorphins that makes one feel more alive and happy. So, when you sit around for you, the endorphin levels are down, which affects one's emotions and mental health.
- Risk of cancer
According to emerging studies, the risk of certain types of cancers increases with prolonged sitting. Some of these types of cancers include uterine, colon, and lung cancer. However, the reason for such an effect is not entirely clear.
- Heart disease
Sitting for a long time can hurt the heart and lead to cardiovascular diseases.
According to some studies, men who sit for more than twenty-three hours a week have a higher risk potential. So, if you sit long hours while working or watching television, you would have a 147% greater chance of developing cardiovascular disease.
And, there are also higher risks of stroke and heart attack for people as well.
- Risks for diabetes
People also get a risk of diabetes if they spend more hours sitting. In fact, as per many experts, the estimate of this happening is around 112 percent.
According to studies, people who are having bed rest for constant five days may start gaining resistance to insulin. This is a precursor to diabetes.
- Varicose veins
Blood pooling in the legs is one of the health risks of sitting at a desk all day. This ultimately results in varicose veins or sometimes spider veins. Spider veins are the smaller version of the varicose veins.
Generally, these veins are not harmful themselves, but they have an unpalatable appearance whenever visible. In very rare cases, these can result in serious issues such as blood clots.
- DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis
This is a type of blood clot which is most common in the legs.
When there is a breakage in the veins' steady movement, it can cut blood flow. Moreover, it can start spreading to other body parts, for example, the lungs. And finally, that would result in pulmonary embolism at the worst stage.
Indeed, this is a medical emergency and can result in some major complications and sometimes death.
If you are sitting for a long time; for example, when on a road trip, DVT is very common.
- Stiff neck and shoulders
Besides your butt, legs, and lower back, your neck and shoulders too would start feeling sore after sitting for long hours. This is a very common scenario when you sit for too long in front of the computer or laptop.
Preventions for health hazards due to sitting for a long time
Sometimes, you genuinely do not have any other option other than sitting for a long time. In today's world, all human beings rely upon technology for survival. Therefore sitting in front of a desktop or a laptop is very common.
Currently, even the kids sit for a maximum of six to seven hours a day, whether in school or home. They rarely go outside for any co-curricular activities. And hence, multiple effects of prolonged sitting are common among the kids also.
Yet, there are also certain precautions that you can take. Not only would these preventions allow them to stay healthy, but also avoid risks of major illness.
Here is a list of such preventive steps that can help you.
- Brush your teeth and work on your legs immediately
Dentists always recommend brushing your teeth twice a day and at least two minutes at a stretch. And, you also need to floss your teeth daily. Therefore, it adds up to five minutes in total.
During these five minutes, you can practice squats, toe raises, and leg lifts. This will allow you to do some leg exercises.
Such exercises will help add muscle to your legs and keep them from atrophying.
- Set a timer
Set a timer on your regular kitchen timer or a smartphone. Let it ring every thirty to sixty minutes during the whole day. Whenever the ringing starts, try to get up and walk all around. Also, opt for some stretching and doing a few chores around the house.
Not only will this not only help you to stay active but also let you prevent critical illnesses that may occur later.
- Pace yourself
Make sure that you stand up whenever you are on the phone. Try to make a habit of walking back and forth whenever you talk. Also, go around in circles. This way, you would get a good few minutes of exercising.
- Rely on yoga
Yoga is a very useful remedy in the question of how to reduce the effects of sitting all day. It can not only help you to stay physically active but mentally too. Overall, there are countless benefits of yoga. Here are some of the ones you would possibly experience:
- Increase in the flow of blood
- A build-up of the muscle strength
- Improved posture
- Keeps diseases away
- Increase in your self-esteem
- Lowered blood sugar
- Flexibility increases
- A boost in your metabolism
Indeed, the benefits above make it very clear that you would experience many advantages from it.
If you are working for long hours on a desk or laptop, it can hurt your spine, too. Not only that, but you will also start feeling extremely tired at the end of the day.
Therefore, start doing yoga sessions to feel more energized and ready to face the world.
- Sit on an exercise ball
Opt to sit on an exercise ball for at least ten to fifteen minutes besides sitting on a desk chair. This will force your body to use its core muscles. As a result, your body would stabilize better, and also you can maintain your posture well.
- Convert commercial breaks to workout breaks
You do not have to compromise your time when you watch television for a break. Utilize this time, instead; use the few minutes of commercial breaks for biceps curls, tricep curls, etc.
You can also opt to do leg lifts and crunches. The end of the show would total at around twenty to twenty-five minutes of a workout session.
The bottom line
Always try to follow certain rules from the very beginning to not have to face any issues afterward. This will help stay healthy for longer. Sitting for a long period sounds non-problematic, but the consequences can be life-threatening. Thus, try to move around more often every day and keep your brain and body active.