Is Sitting Really Harming Your Health?

Is Sitting Really Harming Your Health? 1024 493 Neurospace

‘A nice cup of tea and a sit down’ was once thought to cure all ills. But it now seems that too much sitting causes problems of its own. You may spend a significant amount of time sitting down. Perhaps you sit at a desk all day at work, sit at the table for dinner, then sit on the sofa to relax.

That lack of movement hurts your back, expands your waistline, and increases your risk of many very serious diseases.

So, it’s time to review your day and take steps to stop sitting so much. Here’s why sitting is bad for you and some ideas on how to move more while still doing your job well.

All information is general in nature. Patients should consider their own personal circumstances and seek a second opinion. 

Is Sitting Really Harming Your Health?

Bet that title got your attention! But, it can’t be true, can it?

Surely simply sitting down can’t be as bad as that? Well…

Too much of a good thing?

Sitting isn’t bad in and of itself. If you’ve been run off your feet all day, then there’s nothing better than sinking into a comfy chair and finally being able to relax – throw in a foot rub and you’re in heaven.

If you walk rather than drive, take the stairs rather than the lift, and if your day involves plenty of activity, then sitting down from time to time is fine.

Do you sit at a desk or behind the wheel during your workday? Do you relax after work by sitting on the sofa and watching TV or gaming? Do you catch up with your friends by sitting down to enjoy a meal or a few drinks?

It can all add up to a very sedentary lifestyle. Instead of being on your feet all day, you’re in your seat. And that has consequences.

Why Is Sitting Bad for You?

Prolonged sitting can be harmful to your health in several ways.

You’re likely to gain weight since you’re not burning many calories. Obesity increases the risk of a long list of health conditions including stroke, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Metabolic syndrome – a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and fat around your tummy – can also be traced back to prolonged sitting.

Research indicates that prolonged sitting also increases your risk of dying from cancer or cardiovascular disease.

What Prolonged Sitting Does to Your Body

We tend to associate sitting with comfort but, it turns out, that sitting for a long time makes you uncomfortable.

Researchers at the University of Western Australia made people sit for 2 hours at a computer and measured the effect on their bodies and brains.

They found that sitting increased discomfort in all areas of the body. This discomfort was particularly problematic in the lower back and the hip/thigh/buttock areas.

To put it another way, sitting still for just 2 hours hurts your back, butt, hips, and thighs. Two hours – that’s about a quarter of the average office worker’s day.

Interestingly, sitting still also begins to weaken your cognitive function. You’re still concentrating with a good attention span but your creativity decreases and you’re less able to solve problems.

How to Reduce the Effects of Sitting All Day

Clearly prolonged sitting is not good for us. Trouble is, many jobs require it.

The best way to reduce the risks associated with sitting is to spend less time doing it.

Here are some ways to increase your activity levels while getting your job done:

  • Use the journey for some activity
    • Park further away or get off the bus a stop earlier so that you stop sitting and start moving
    • ‘Commute’ from your bedroom to your home office by going for a walk or a jog before you start work
  • Stand up and move often
    • Take all your phone calls standing up
    • Use a standing desk
  • Walk more
    • Hold ‘walk and talk’ team meetings
    • Meet your mate for a takeaway coffee and a stroll in the park rather than a sit-down brunch (it’s cheaper too)
  • Relax differently
    • Do some floor stretches or exercises while you watch Netflix instead of sitting on the sofa
    • Get up every time there’s an ad break
    • Turn the TV off and do something active instead

How can Neurospace Help?

As experienced Physiotherapists, we’ve treated many clients whose lower back pain or muscle weakness is linked to a sedentary lifestyle.

If you’re in pain, then please make an appointment. We can examine you, find out what’s hurting and why then discuss any lifestyle changes that may help. We can also help you find the best way to exercise and grow stronger.

All information is general in nature. Patients should consider their own personal circumstances and seek a second opinion.