In this day and age of technology, majority of people spend about 50% of their time sitting behind a desk, in front of a television, or other form of entertainment. With this change of pace, most people aren’t able to stop this and they don’t even think about what effects prolonged sitting has on their bodies. A sedentary lifestyle describes those who sit all day at work and come home to sit some more, watching television while incorporating little or no exercise into their daily routine. While a sedentary lifestyle is often simply associated with prolonged sitting, better known as couch potato syndrome, new studies are beginning to show that this syndrome has become a more serious health concern. In fact, research has shown that there can be serious side effects of prolonged sitting even if one does exercise. The key is to take frequent breaks. Some of the more serious side effects of prolonged periods of sitting contributing to poor health can include arthritis, heart disease, obesity, and even diabetes. In this article we will take a brief look at some of the effects caused by sitting for a long period of time.
Although the initial response for someone with arthritis is to sit more to alleviate pain, sitting for prolonged periods of time has been shown to worsen arthritic conditions. Not flexing and moving the muscles and joints may lead to increased pain and decrease in flexibility. Lack of muscle movement contribute to a higher index of C-reactive protein triggering inflammatory disease such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Higher cholesterol levels are one of the major risks that could lead to heart disease. Remaining in a seated position for extended periods of time without benefit of movement has been shown in studies to keep cholesterol at higher levels. Not only is your body becoming idle and sluggish, sitting for too long without movement is a major cause of obesity, which, combined with high cholesterol, leads to heart disease.
Poor Blood Circulation
Another health concern that comes from sitting too much is poor blood circulation. When a person does not get up and move around during the day, the heart slows down as well as the flow of blood. Varicose veins is caused by poor circulation of blood. In addition, sitting too much makes one feel tired and that happens because less blood activity deprives the muscles of oxygen and nutrients that keep the body healthy and active.
Obesity has a direct link to elevated blood fats known as triglycerides, which are the main fats in the body. Studies have shown that sitting for extensive periods is directly related to elevated blood fats resulting in obesity. After only an hour and half of sitting down, your metabolism starts to slow down. The enzyme lipase becomes ineffective, and you are unable to metabolize fat properly. This usually increases cholesterol levels. Making a conscious choice to stand more and move a little reduces higher levels of triglycerides.
Weak muscles are another effect from sitting too much. Lack of exercise and frequent movement is the primary reason why most muscles become weak plus with poor blood circulation, muscles tend to cramp, get strained or pulled after prolonged sitting.
With prolonged sitting if the head, neck and shoulders are not aligned in an almost straight line, it can create pain in the back and shoulder muscles. If this continues regularly then it can lead to permanent back pain. Other harm of poor posture due to prolonged sitting at work is that it leads to wrist injuries, especially for those who make extensive use of computers.
Numerous studies have now shown that standing up enables the body to properly use blood glucose, to fight off diabetes. Data has been compiled showing the risk of diabetes to be doubled by those who sit a lot, even for those who incorporate exercise into their schedule.
Walking around your building during lunch hour, standing while talking on the phone, and walking to the fax machine, are all beneficial, but it is imperative not only to stretch frequently, but you must get up out of the chair several times per day to promote good health.
In an effort to ward off these serious diseases, you must literally take a stand and become proactive about the well-being of your body.