The Dangers of Sitting: Why Is It Bad for Your Health?

The Dangers of Sitting: Why Is It Bad for Your Health?

Are you aware of the dangers of sitting?

In the past few months, our sedentary lifestyle spiked after the pandemic. People find themselves in front of screens while working from home, binge shows, or attending virtual classes. The new normal leaves no space for physical health and activity if we don’t make a conscious effort to move.

Unfortunately, this can lead to adverse consequences.

Here is what you can expect after adopting this harmful habit:

Back Pain

Sitting for extensive hours can cause your spine to lose its natural curvature. It starts compressing and placing undue pressure on the spinal discs. An equal amount of pressure is put on your upper and lower back muscles. It, in turn, causes excruciating pain and occasional muscle inflammation. All this leads to distress and unbearable back pain that tends to become chronic without immediate treatment.

Stiff Joints and Tight Muscles

Slouching and hunching over a laptop for prolonged hours can cause stiffen your knee joints, neck, and shoulders.

Some muscles (like our hip flexor muscles and hamstrings) contract and shorten when you are seated. Others relax. If you remain in this position for excessive periods, they start becoming overtight. It often leads to muscle pain and limited movement. They also affect your natural gait and balance.

Weakness and Fatigue

Do you get out of breath after climbing a flight of stairs? Do your legs give away after a short walk?

Weak legs and low endurance are all dangers of sitting. Hours of inactivity weakens your muscles and bones. That is because this position hinders their blood flow. They receive an inadequate amount of oxygenated blood and glucose.

 If you’re not careful, these muscles and joints will lose the strength and stamina to move. Due to this, your attempts to work out after months of sitting could result in muscle strains and overexertion.

Other Health Risks:

The dangers of sitting include many underlying health problems. These include high blood pressure, weight gain, poor cardiac health, metabolic syndrome, fluid retention, chronic pain in several parts of the body etc. It also causes weight gain and deteriorates our mental health.

Also, some studies reveal that active hours of sitting can increase the risk of cancer too.

How to Avoid Prolonged Sitting?

The best counteraction for sitting is movement. You need to add more activity into your sedentary lifestyle to prevent health risks caused by sitting too much. Any physical activity shall suffice, as long as you move around. It will help you stretch your muscle, burn calories, and stay energetic.

Here are a few things you can do to change your sitting habits:

·      Go for a daily morning/evening walk

·      Workout for 15-30 minutes every day

·      Walk around the house when you are on the phone/waiting for something

·      Get an adjustable standing desk

·      Sit on a stability ball when you are watching TV or only sitting  

Most importantly, take breaks between tasks to prevent too much sitting.  Those who get caught up in work can set your alarm as a reminder to stretch and walk after 30-45 min intervals.

When should you visit a physical therapist? If your back and joint pain fail to subside, professional assistance becomes necessary. It is also helpful to see a doctor for early intervention. You can also consult a physical therapist about at-home exercise tips.

In a Nutshell

Overall, the dangers of sitting are infinite. It causes back pain, stiff joints, poor posture, and gait. It also leads to tight muscles and soreness that limit your movements. Extensive periods of inactivity can then result in severe health problems if you don’t counteract it with at-home exercises and daily activity.

So what are you waiting for? Stop slouching and start moving!