This Is Exactly What Happens to Your Body When You Sit All Day
According to the Australian Health Survey, almost 70% of adults can be classified as having a sedentary lifestyle, with 60% of us failing to get the recommended thirty minutes of physical activity every day. That's an alarming statistic because we now know the extent that prolonged periods of sitting can play in our overall health and wellbeing.
A large portion of workers spend up to ten hours a day in a seated position, so being aware of your body and making adjustments throughout the day is vital to avoid pain and other issues that can arise as a result. While these side effects are important to be aware of, don't worry, you won't have to quit your job or cancel your Netflix subscription any time soon. The answer is simply to up your daily physical activity and move your body to avoid some of these common symptoms.
Slouching and bad posture at work is something that takes a conscious effort to correct, as we can often naturally find ourselves slumped over a keyboard for hours without realising. Combining bad posture with hours of sitting is a recipe for disaster, leaving your muscles and joints vulnerable to degeneration and a variety of neck, shoulder and hip problems later down the track. If you need to sit for a long period, be mindful of your position and posture to avoid unnecessary discomfort.
We might have already guessed it, but a recent study identified that long periods of sitting are associated with higher rates of back pain. Back pain as a result of sitting for extended periods is caused by the sacrum bone (which is located just above your tailbone) shifting over time. This area of the back can become inflamed, with pain then radiating throughout your body causing extreme discomfort.
Poor blood flow
When you've been sitting for hours on end, your circulation can slow, which has the ability to cause blood to pool in your legs and feet. A study published in the British Medical Journal actually made the link between long periods of inactivity causing poor blood flow and the possibility of a pulmonary embolism (yikes!). Try to take a break from the desk every now and then, even if it's just for a glass of water.
When you're sitting, your lungs have less space to expand when you breathe. As a result of being seated for hours at a time, they won't have the ability to function at maximum capacity. This can lead to feelings of lightheadedness, shortness of breath and even leaving your brain function feeling less than optimal.
In this study published in Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease, research suggests that digestive issues such as bloating, cramps and heartburn can be caused because, like the lungs, the abdomen and gastrointestinal tract are compressed for long periods while you're seated.
Anxiety and depression
An extensive amount of research that has been conducted focusing on anxiety and depression means that we are aware that people who exercise regularly and are exposed to sufficient amounts of sunlight daily are at less risk of developing anxiety and depression. On the other hand, those that are stuck inside behind a desk for the majority of their day don't experience the mood-boosting benefits, resulting in higher rates of anxiety and depression amongst these people.
In a study examining the link between the amount of sitting hours per day and diabetes, those who were more physically inactive were at a higher risk of developing the condition. Low levels of strength and decreased muscle mass were the culprits, which can lead to lowered sensitivity to insulin, and as a result, higher instances of diabetes.
If you're experiencing any side effects as a result of prolonged sitting, the best place to start is with a consultation with your GP who will be able to determine the best course of action.
Start by improving your posture with these 10 ridiculously easy tricks.