Being too sedentary and sitting for too many hours each day can have significant, harmful effects on your health. Continue reading to learn about the health risks of sitting too much, what causes these health risks, and what you can do to decrease the amount of time you spend sitting.
Frequently staying seated increases your risk for obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, deep-vein thrombosis, and metabolic syndrome.
Sitting too long can also cause pain by tightening your hip flexors, hamstring muscles, and joints. The more extended time you sit, the tighter your muscles and joints become. This tightness can make it harder to walk and keep your balance properly, making it more likely to fall. Falling can cause serious injuries, such as hip fractures and breaks, especially for elderly people. Tightness in your hip flexors and hamstrings can also cause lower back pain and knee stiffness.
Causes of health risks
It is not entirely clear, even to experts, why long periods of sitting contribute to the development of various health issues. However, sitting for too long causes your largest muscles to become relaxed. Relaxed muscles use less blood glucose, increasing your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
It is recommended that people not spend more than eight hours a day in a seated position. There are many simple ways to integrate more standing and movement into your day, no matter how sedentary you are.
Set a timer during periods of prolonged sitting to remind yourself to take some time to do some stretching exercises. You can stand up and walk, even just a short distance, such as going to the bathroom or getting something to drink. Heading down the hall or to the kitchen to get a drink will kill two birds with one stone, as it will give you a reason to move around a bit and keep you hydrated.
You can buy an adjustable standing desk that will allow you to alternate between sitting and standing at your desk while you work at your computer. You may also want to try standing up during phone calls.
Everyone loves the feeling of sinking into their couch to relax and watch TV after a long day. However, it is recommended that you trade intervals of sitting on your couch and sitting on a stability ball. Sitting on a stability ball requires using various muscles to keep your balance and stay upright.