6 Reasons Sitting Is Bad For Your Health
Do you spend most of your day sitting at a desk? That’s what we thought… Here are 6 ways that sitting for long periods of time is destroying your health, and ways you can make adjustments and get moving more throughout your day.
1. Poor posture
Not only are we sitting all day, but most of us are hunched over at our desks contorted in a position that isn’t doing us any good. Backaches, tight hips & sore neck sound familiar? A few simple adjustments can ensure that when you are seated, you’re doing it right.
Tip: Make sure your back is straight & the lower part is supported by your chair. Your computer screen should be at eye level to prevent any slouching. Feet should be flat on the floor and legs and arms comfortably resting at 90 degrees.
2. More prone to injury
Sitting on our rears all day is actually deactivating our gluteal muscles. Ever heard the phrase “Use it or lose it?” This is especially true for your backside. The less active our glutes, the tighter our hips, hamstrings & quads become and more pain we feel in our low back, knees, neck & shoulders.
Tip: Get up out of your office chair and do some chair exercises targeting the gluteal muscles like tap squats or leg raises.
3. Increased risk of disease
Studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even cancer. Your goal should be to increase movement in your everyday life, not just in the office. Become a “move more” kind of person.
Tip: Take a lap around the office, now!
4. Defeats the purpose of your workout
A study done at the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center found that prolonged sitting can actually take away benefits from a workout done earlier that day – what?! For example, if you go for a 60 minute jog in the morning before work, and then sit for 10 hours at the office, you’re actually losing 80% of the amazing health benefits of your workout. What a waste!!
Tip: Sit on an exercise ball instead of your office chair, go for walking meetings, take the stairs, walk to ask a co-worker a question, go for walking breaks instead of sitting in the break room or set your timer to go off every hour for 2 minutes of Deskercise.
5. Lots of sitting leads to…more sitting!
“Work was so exhausting, I just want to sit on the couch.” Does that phrase sound familiar? Work is mentally exhausting, especially if you don’t take time to get up and move throughout the day & recharge. We know there are intense days at the office where we just want to go home, lay on the couch & watch TV. When this thought creeps into your mind, try to send yourself a personal WARNING & quickly remind yourself why you need to move.
Tip: Ride your bike or walk to work or get off the bus a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way. Moving before and after work really helps to clear the mind, to unwind a bit and release any stressors. You can also make plans with a friend or family member to go for a walk after work so you are less likely to bail & get to spend quality time with that person.
6. You burn less calories
You burn 30% less calories when you are sitting versus when you are standing. How many of you find yourself sitting at your desk mindlessly snacking while you work? Burning 30% less calories while sitting and then snacking on a high-calorie snack, without really being hungry, do not go hand in hand.
Tip: Get a standing desk, do a walk and talk meeting with your co-worker or just get up as often as possible to stand up from your chair and move your limbs – even some quick stretches will do.
If reading this opened your eyes and made you motivated to incorporate more movement in your day, try doing the following workout at your desk on a daily basis:
1. Let your arms hang at your sides. Shake out your arms, hands and fingers.
2. Raise and lower your shoulders a couple of times. Roll them in a circular motion, first backwards and then forwards. Now draw your shoulder blades together and then apart again.
3. Extend your legs, lift your feet and move them in circles.
4. Bend and extend your knees several times.
5. Close your eyes for a few seconds. Open them and focus on an object far away, preferably about 20 meters (65 feet) away. This keeps you from straining your eyes.
Tips for staying fit at work:
- Try to move as much as possible at work.
- Stand up at least once every hour.
- Sit up straight to help avoid developing back problems.
- Relieve the strain on your eyes with the exercise described above.
- Try to do our ergonomic desk workout every day!
Do you work in an office & have some tips on how you get moving throughout the day? We look forward to your comments.