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How to Reduce the Effects of Sitting All Day

How to Reduce the Effects of Sitting All Day

Sitting down is considered to be one of the most effective ways to relax. However, sitting down for a very long time could actually do more harm than good. Knowing how to reduce the effects of sitting all day can be very helpful, especially for people whose nature of work requires them to sit for most hours of the day.

How does sitting too much affect your body?

how to reduce the effects of sitting all day

Sitting for a long time can compromise your overall health.

Moving around during the day can help burn calories and keep muscles in good shape.

When you sit all day, here’s what could happen to your body:

  • Your metabolism may slow down, making it difficult for your body to convert food into energy.
  • You will likely burn fewer calories, possibly resulting in weight gain.
  • Your muscles may start to lose their strength, leading to muscle wasting or muscle atrophy.
  • The bones in your body may become brittle and frail, making you more prone to injuries.
  • Your immune system may weaken, thus increasing your susceptibility to different diseases.
  • You may experience poor blood circulation, which can be harmful to your health.
  • Sitting all day can increase inflammation in your body.
  • You can experience several mental health issues due to prolonged sitting.

Health risks related to sitting all day

A sedentary lifestyle raises your risk of acquiring several health conditions, ranging from the mildest to the severe.

Weight gain and obesity

Burning fewer calories due to prolonged sitting can result in weight gain and even, obesity.

Studies also show that sedentary activities, such as working a desk job or being on the phone or computer for too long increases a person’s risk of obesity.

Falls and injuries

Sitting all day does not require you to use your legs and glutes, making these large muscles lose their strength.

Muscle weakness can result in falls, accidents, and injuries.

Severe back and neck pain

Prolonged sitting and poor posture puts so much pressure on your spinal discs, which causes soreness, stiffness, and severe pain on the back and neck.

How Good Posture Can Benefit Your Health

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Being sedentary for too long can result in deep vein thrombosis or a blood clot that develops in the leg. DVT is a serious health condition that may lead to pulmonary embolism.

However, DVT rarely happens to people who sit for long hours a day unless they are completely immobile. We can note that some individuals with underlying conditions (such as high fatty deposits in their blood) may be more at risk.

Cardiovascular diseases

Prolonged sitting is one factor that can contribute to cardiovascular diseases, like coronary artery disease and heart attack.

Based on a comparative study, people whose work requires them to sit for long hours are more susceptible to heart disease than those whose work requires moving.

Type 2 diabetes

Having a sedentary lifestyle increases a person’s insulin resistance, resulting in type 2 diabetes.

According to a study from the Netherlands, an extra hour of sedentary time increases a person’s risk of diabetes by 22% than those who are less sedentary.

Depression and anxiety

An increase in sedentary behavior is associated with an increased risk of depression and anxiety.

Premature death

According to a recent study, a two-decade sedentary lifestyle is linked to twice the risk of premature death compared to having an active lifestyle.

How to lessen the effects of sitting all day?

One of the best ways to reduce the effects of sitting all day is by exercising for at least 30 minutes a day. If exercising is not doable, there are other ways you can do to stay active even if your daily routine requires you to sit all day.

When you’re at home you can:

  • Do house chores or try gardening.
  • Stand up or do stretches while watching TV.
  • Workout daily, for at least 30 minutes.
  • Reduce screentime and choose activities that will get you moving instead.
  • Play sports with your kids or pets in the backyard.
  • Buy gym equipment, like a treadmill or a stationary bike that you can use while watching television or when you have some downtime at home.

When you’re at work you can:

  • Take a break from sitting by walking around the office for a few minutes every hour.
  • Try using a standing desk for a few hours each day.
  • Stand up or walk around while talking on the phone.
  • Take the stairs instead of using the elevator.
  • Utilize your break or lunchtime by stretching or by walking around the office building.

Key takeaways

People absolutely love sitting down, especially when they’re tired.

However, if sitting down is the only activity a person does the whole day, it could have negative effects on their health.

Ironically, it is also important to take a break from sitting down.

Despite a hectic schedule, the best way to reduce the effects of sitting all day is to find the time to move around instead being stationary all day long.

Learn more about Orthopedics, here.

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Sources

Associations of Total Amount and Patterns of Sedentary Behavior with Type 2 Diabetes and the Metabolic Syndrome: The Maastricht Study  https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00125-015-3861-8 Accessed September 26, 2020

Too Much Sitting – A Health Hazard https://www.diabetesresearchclinicalpractice.com/article/S0168-8227(12)00208-2/pdf Accessed September 26, 2020

The Dangers of Sitting https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/the-dangers-of-sitting Accessed September 26, 2020

Sedentary Lifestyle for 20 Years Linked to Doubled Early Mortality Risk Compared to Being Active https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190831155849.htm Accessed September 26, 2020

Health Risks of an Inactive Lifestyle https://medlineplus.gov/healthrisksofaninactivelifestyle.html Accessed September 26, 2020

What are the Risks of Sitting Too Much? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sitting/faq-20058005 Accessed September 26, 2020

The Dangers of Sitting: Why Sitting is the New Smoking https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/the-dangers-of-sitting Accessed September 26, 2020

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Written by Mayvilyn Cabigao Updated Jun 10
Medically reviewed by Danielle Joanne Villanueva Munji, OTRP
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