In recent years, more people are succumbing to lifestyle diseases that are brought about by unhealthy habits. The focus has mainly been on the well-known causes of these diseases such as lack of physical activity, poor diet, smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol. Sitting down for too long and the dangers it poses has been ignored for long but the rising number of related complications is making it a key area of focus.
While we can’t avoid sitting for lengthy periods of time while working through the day, most of us take every chance we can to sit and avoid standing, walking or any form of physical activity. This ends up affecting our health greatly, with many of us suffering from conditions that we aren’t aware are as a result of thus prolonged sitting.
Some of the health dangers of sitting for too long include:
1. Heart disease
Watching Netflix all day long may be fun for now, but you may be signing up for a heart attack. Sitting has been proven to greatly increase the chances of suffering from cardiac diseases and stroke by close to 150%. Sitting for more than four hours a day watching TV may seem harmless but it poses a great danger to your health. Those who sit longer than that, especially those working in offices should seek to get up at least once every hour or run the risk of early death from a stroke or a heart attack.
We are all aware that sitting increases your chance of being obese, yet many of us ignore it. Obesity is increasingly becoming a cause of concern all over the world, with over 150,000 people losing their lives every year from complications related to obesity in the United States alone.
Sitting prevents us from doing any exercise with our muscles which leads to fat collecting around most organs and under the skin. The amount of fat gradually increases and turns to full-on obesity, a condition that is very hard to reverse.
3. Back and spine problems
The back and the spine suffer the most when you sit down for long periods of time. Most of us don’t watch on our posture when we sit and use chairs that are not ergonomically designed to support our backs. This affects the back greatly and causes many problems and chronic pain.
The spine is also affected by poor posture while sitting. It has cartilage discs whose function is to facilitate the movement of the spine. These discs are compressed by prolonged sitting causing premature degeneration which is very painful.
Diabetes cases in the US have increased to alarming levels and sitting for long periods of time is one of the factors contributing to this. Sitting reduces the body’s natural ability to process sugar, leading the body to resist the hormone insulin. The result is high levels of blood sugars which eventually develop into diabetes.
5. Deep vein thrombosis
This is yet another reason why you should not sit all day long. Deep vein thrombosis is a condition in which blood clots in the veins on your legs, mainly due to inactivity. This clot blocks the blood from returning to the heart for oxygenation and can cause swelling of the affected legs. It becomes more severe when the clot finds its way back into the heart and interferes with blood flow which ends up in severe complications and in some cases, death.
The number of complications resulting from lengthy sitting are many more. Intense workout at the end of the day can’t reverse the effects as previously thought. Therefore, even if your job requires you to sit all day, ensure that you get up from your desk and walk around the office at least once every hour and where possible, stand while doing some work and save yourself the agony of all these complications or an early death.