The Health Effects of Sitting All Day - Lyceum PM

sitting health effects

Photo: bluepics, Flickr Creative Commons

Sitting for 40 hours a week isn’t something most people choose. Often times, the culprit is a desk job: eight hours in front of a computer screen, day in and day out.

No matter how rewarding, desk jobs take a toll on wellness over the long term. The fact of the matter is that bodies are meant to move, not spend hours each day in the same position. When we force our bodies to be still for so long, especially over many years, negative health effects eventually begin to make an appearance.

Since the 1950s, studies have explored the negative effects of long-term sitting. Here are just a few of the most recent findings:

  • Researchers have found a connection between long periods of sitting with obesity and metabolic syndrome. (The latter encompasses a number of issues, including excess body fat around the waist, abnormal cholesterol levels, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure.)
  • Other researchers have uncovered links between a sedentary lifestyle and worsening cardiovascular health, as well as higher rates of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cancer-related deaths.
  • A collection of 47 in-depth studies discovered that people who sat for long periods actually had a higher risk of death from all causes. This was true even for those who exercised regularly, though the effect was stronger in those who did not exercise.
  • Other issues include aches and pains in the upper body, shoulders, and arms, as well as a flattening out of the curve of the lower back.

The evidence is clear: If long-term wellness is one of your goals, you must take action to counteract the effects of long-term sitting. Since quitting your job isn’t an option for most — no matter how much you might want to! — a few good strategies are:

  • Using phone calls as an opportunity to stand or walk around.
  • Having “walking meetings” in which employees take a stroll around a block instead of sitting around a table.
  • Sitting on an exercise ball to challenge the back and abdominal muscles.
  • Propping up your keyboard with a box, tilting your monitor upwards, and standing at your desk for at least half an hour a day.

There are plenty of ways you can begin to incorporate movement into your workday. Be kind to your body and start thinking up some ways that work for you!

Want to inspire better health in your office? Schedule a complimentary Wellness Lunch with Lyceum Physical Medicine. We’ll come to your workplace with some delicious, nutritious food and talk to your employees about a customized topic. Popular topics include stress reduction, proper nutrition, positive mental health, and anti aging. These events are perfect for staff meetings, training days, and employee appreciation days, so give us a call: 215-508-5555 or contact us here.

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