Wellness Matters

Prolonged Sitting Takes a Toll

August 11, 2015

Prolonged sitting can have serious negative effects on our bodies.
In the modern workforce, many sit for hours a day doing our jobs. We then sit on our commute home where we then might exercise a bit before sitting back down until bedtime. In fact, a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that more than half of a person’s waking hours are spent sitting.

What is all of this sitting doing to us?

  • Developing a cloudy brain – Movement allows the body to pump fresh blood and oxygen through the brain. This helps trigger good chemicals for focus and mood enhancement. When we slow down, so does our brain. 
  • Increasing chances for heart disease – Muscles burn less fat and our blood flow is slower during prolonged sitting. This makes it easier for fatty acids to clog the pathways to the heart. 
  • Developing over-productive pancreases – The pancreas produces insulin. Since idle muscles do not respond as well to the insulin -- a hormone that carries glucose to cells for energy -- so the pancreas makes more and more insulin. Hello diabetes
  • Developing neck strain – Hunching over a desk, craning your neck forward or being slouched over on the sofa can strain the cervical vertebrae. This could lead to permanent imbalance. 
  • Having a sore back – Slumping forward overextends the shoulder and back muscles. Overextended muscles ache. 
  • Inflicting spine damage – Movement helps the soft discs between our vertebrae expand and contract, soaking up fresh blood like a sponge. Long periods of sitting can cause these discs to set unevenly and begin to harden. 
  • Losing ab muscle tone – Standing keeps abdominal muscles upright and firm. Sitting causes them to weaken. Tight back muscles and weak abs destroy good posture and create hyperlordosis, or swayback. 
  • Hip rigidity – Those who sit too often lose hip flexibility. Flexible hips help you maintain your balance. Studies have shown that decreased hip mobility is the main reason we fall when we get older. 
  • Weakening of the glutes – Sitting does nothing for the glutes. Sitting causes them to soften, negatively impacting stability and a powerful stride. 
  • Promoting poor circulation - Again, slow blood circulation occurs when sitting. This can cause blood to pool in the legs. Problems can arise from this such as swollen ankles, varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis (dangerous blood clots). 
  • Softening of the bones – Weight-bearing activities stimulate growth in the hip and lower body bones causing them to grow thicker and denser. Some science points to lack of activity being responsible for the recent surge of osteoporosis.

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