On average, the majority of adults spend 8.9 hours per day sat down. Some, however, spend up to 12 hours per day sat down. Time, as they say, flies along, and with our sedentary lifestyles it’s often difficult to realise just how much time we spend sat down, often in the wrong position.
So, with advice from Doug Jones (Altius Healthcare), we have put together 5 things to be aware of when you’re sat down all day. Here goes.
1. WEIGHT GAIN
The first negative impact, of course, is weight gain. Prolonged sitting can have detrimental effects upon your metabolism, causing it to slow down significantly. When this happens an enzyme known as “lipoprotein lipase” is released slowly, and therefore slows down the transfer of fat from the blood. This fat is used when muscles are active; but when you are sat down for significant periods of time, excess fat builds up the blood.
Solution: If at work, try using a Standing Desk. These can help burn calories while standing. If at home, try getting regular exercise, such as walking, each day.
2. INCREASED RISK OF HEART DISEASE
Heart disease and cardiovascular problems are a leading cause of death among many people in the western world, and sitting has been proven among smoking, high cholesterol and excessive weight as a major culprit. In fact, one study from Leicester University suggests that those who sit the most had a 147% increase in cardiovascular problems against those who sit the least.
Of course, it is important to build exercise into your daily routine. Walking, where possible, is one, but what to do if you are unavoidably office-bound for the majority of the day?
The method is to use something as simple as a standing desk, which can provide support for weight loss, and therefore a healthier heart. In fact, using a standing desk can burn between 40 - 60 calories per hour.
Solution: try using a Standing Desk while at work and exercise regularly.
3. REDUCED BRAIN FUNCTION
Sitting can have negative consequences on cognitive function, according to several studies. When our muscles move, the heart pumps more blood around the body. This, in turn, provides a more efficient supply of oxygen to the brain and allows the brain to release positive mood enhancing chemicals. Excessive sitting reduces oxygen supply to the brain and therefore causes effects such as slow cognitive function and tiredness.
Solution: take a break from sitting and move around periodically to get your muscles working and blood flowing.
4. NECK AND BACK PAIN
A study conducted by Penn State University found that by sitting for 4 or more hours, there is a risk of the lower back discs beginning to compress. When this happens, these key supportive discs begin to degenerate; this, consequently, can lead to lower back pain and discomfort. In fact, sitting can place up to 2 times the pressure on these discs than when standing.
Solution: try using the Posture Hero™ as a way to support your posture a spine alignment.
5. WEAKENED LEGS
One of the major problems of sitting down for long time periods is that it causes poor circulation in the legs. Poor leg circulation causes the muscle fibres to start breaking down, which is known as muscle atrophy and makes your muscles weaker over time. Even with exercise, the poor circulation in the legs will make it harder to rebuild the muscle. The lower circulation to the legs also makes it difficult to work out for long periods of time.
Solution: try using either the Standing Desk or our “active sitting” solution, the Posture Cushion.
ADDITIONAL EXERCISE HINTS & TIPS
Don’t forget, while we have devices available for solving a number of these sitting-related problems, it’s important to get regular consistent exercise. Go for a quick-paced walk, a swim or even join a gym. You can also use a range of accessories, such as Standing Desks, Posture Cushions and the Posture Hero™ brace for supporting your general health and getting out of that sitting habit.