If you’re reading through this with sore eyes because they have been strained by the hours you spend in front of the screen all day then you have a little more to worry about than just your eyes. You see, sitting for long hours every day can have devastating effects on your health.
More than half of us have been required to sit on our butts for around 6 hours of the day and although sitting doesn’t use up too much energy – it gets exhausting. We as human beings aren’t supposed to sit still for hours, it’s unnatural and when we’re forced to do so, we become susceptible to numerous health risks.
Here’s how sitting for long hours impacts you mentally and physically:
- Flimsy legs and weak glutes
Have you ever gotten up and felt like your legs are slightly numb and may be unable to carry your weight? Well, that is exactly what is happening. When you haven’t been using a specific muscle they become weak. If you spent hours of your day sitting on your chair, you don’t need your legs to hold yourself up which in turn causes muscle atrophy.
At the same time, sitting for long hours also shuts down your glutes. Your butt may seem like it doesn’t do much but your glutes are responsible for pelvic rotation, hip movement and pelvic stability. Truth is, without functioning glutes, you’re entire body’s movement will be very limited.
If you do find yourself spending long hours sitting on a chair, make sure you are doing exercises that engage these muscles or else you will be left with a flimsy lower half – no one wants that. Try walking up to your office stairs a couple of times while skipping a step in between or find a space to sneak in some lunges and squats.
- Gaining of weight
It’s no surprise that sitting for long hours will cause you to put on extra pounds. This is especially true in the workplace. In the office, not only are we sitting put for long hours, we also indulge in fattening lunches and munch on zero-nutrition snacks all day.
Exercise and movement, in general, causes us to release lipoprotein lipase and other molecules process sugars and fats that we consume. Spending most of our day propped on a chair reduces the number of molecules released which leads to the widening of your rear and the buildup of fat around your midriff. If you are piling on excess fat around your waistline, you should know that it comes with its own set of risks.
- Bad posture and stiff hips
Most people suffer from bad posture these days and sadly it’s to do with the nature of our jobs. Being hunched over a desk for 6-8 hours of a day leads to bad posture. Having bad posture may seem like a mere cosmetic issue but it poses many physical health risks. The alignment of our spine is necessary for our body to be able to carry our weight while placing minimum pressure on major muscles. Having bad posture leads to headaches, backaches, excessive fatigue and even heart disease.
To avoid problems in the future, you need to quit neglecting your spine and fix your posture immediately. Yes, your bad posture is habitual now but it isn’t natural. Use the help of a waist-trainer to improve your posture. They provide your entire back with support, allowing you to sit and stand up straight, strengthening your muscles over time.
You also risk stiffening your hips by sitting in one position for too long. To ensure the smooth movement of your hips, do some chair twists every couple of hours.
- Stress, anxiety, and depression
It may seem unlikely that sitting in one place can be stressful but again, anything that is unnatural for our bodies will cause us disturbance physically and mentally. Numerous studies have linked prolonged sitting to depression. More women seem to suffer from anxiety and depression compared to men. What is startling is that exercising even after long hours of sitting doesn’t protect against anxiety. Breaking up long hours of sitting is more effective.
Take frequent walks during the course of the day if you can. Of course, not all office-spaces are open to the idea of employees walking around freely but it should be alright to take a break to stretch at your desk. You can also attempt to give yourself some height at the desk and stand instead of sitting.
- Neck and shoulder pain
A stiff neck and shoulder pain is inevitable after sitting for too long. Continuous neck and shoulder pain will lead to the softening of tissue in the area which can later cause more serious illnesses.
You may not be able to find a way out of sitting in one place for too long but know the importance of giving yourself a break and moving around. A few minutes of movement and regular will go a long way when it comes to your health in the future.