Is sitting really bad for your health?
We have all heard numerous reports of the bad effects of sitting too long, but are they true? In a word yes.
Several studies conducted by researchers globally have discovered profound changes which can affect our bodies in negative ways leading to issues ranging from cardiovascular to musculoskeletal. Prolonged sitting can cause or potentially cause the following:
Weakness of our Gluteals (buttock muscles) and leg muscles. “what we don’t use, we lose”. Lack of use can lead to atrophy- loss of muscle mass and weakness which can increase our risk of injury.
Weight gain. When we become active our bodies release certain molecules which help to process fats and sugars. When we sit for long periods the release of these molecules decrease which can lead to weight gain and widening of the buttocks. Men can develop Metabolic disease which can lead to more weight gain around the middle- the worst place to gain weight.
Tightness of the hips and low back. Your hip flexors (the muscles in your lower abdomen and front of your thighs) will shorten and tighten which can lead to pain and weakness. Compression of our spine from sitting can potentially cause early degeneration of our spine leading to chronic LBP.
Stiff neck, shoulders and upper back. Static posture from sitting can make the muscles in our neck, shoulders and upper back tighten leading to chronic discomfort. Poor posture especially sitting and leaning forward at a computer can lead to muscle strain and pain.
Cancer risk. Although researchers are unclear as to how sitting causes increased cancer risk, early studies have found an increase in uterine, colon and lung cancer with prolonged sitting.
Diabetes Risk. Studies have found increased insulin resistance- a precursor to diabetes
Varicose Veins. Blood can pool in the legs causing varicose veins.
Deep Vein Thrombosis. Prolonged sitting can lead to these dangerous clots.
So what can we do? Get up frequently from your desk, become more active and see your doctor if any symptoms develop.