For those who work all day in front of a computer or who spend a lot of time sitting, it’s important to know how sitting for long periods can affect your body’s health. When it comes to our overall emotional state, posture, weight and metabolism, numerous studies have revealed some very interesting findings that can help us better understand how to stay healthy.
The following list of studies shows what sitting for too long does to your body according to science:
Increased Chance Of Depression
According to a study done by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine between 2001 an 2010, middle-aged women who sat for longer than seven hours a day without physical activity were more likely to have depressive symptoms than those who sat less than or equal to four hours a day and who met physical activity guidelines.
What we can do: The study recommends increasing daily physical activity to alleviate depression symptoms and to prevent future symptoms of depression. Try taking a walk on your lunch break outside in a nearby park where you can see the sky, the grass, and some trees. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that participants who went on a 90 minute walk through a natural environment showed reduced neural activity in an area of the brain linked to risk for certain depressive symptoms compared with those who walked through an urban environment.
The question arises that if we sit often, but make sure to exercise regularly, does this make up for it and keep us healthy? While regular exercise certainly helps, studies still show that a sedentary lifestyle can also take its toll on the body’s organs. The British Journal of Sports Medicine cites a study and states that, “Even if a person completes the recommended daily 30 minutes of exercise, the amount of time spent sitting in the day still substantially affects mortality risk.” The study found that the highest level of sedentary time showed a 147% increase in cardiovascular events, and a 90% increase in the risk of cardiovascular mortality.
What we can do: It’s a good idea to give the body some time to stretch and move each hour, especially when you’re sitting too long. Stand up from your chair, take a quick walk around the room, do a few yoga stretches; anything that keeps your body active and allows it to rest from a rigid sitting posture. You can also look into getting an ergonomic chair which can adjust to your body’s needs.
A study conducted in 2010 found that lower back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Another study found that sitting time is positively associated with lower back pain intensity among blue-collar workers. Poor posture and improper ergonomic setups can lead to lower back pain, and the most common cause of lower back pain is postural stress. The human body is not necessarily designed for prolonged periods of sitting.
What we can do: Get up out of the chair at least once per hour, and during this time, place your hands on your lower back, and gently push your hips forward and lean back 2 or 3 times to reset the natural curve of your spine.
Find ways you can give yourself a break from sitting each hour an take care of your wonderful body.
Do you sit for prolonged periods of time? Do you notice any ways that it affects your health?
Let us know in the comments.
Have a beautifully healthy day.
You are loved.