Sitting has become a common, almost necessary component of the modern way of life. Because of this, most people are not even aware of how much time they actually spend sitting every day – at home, in the car, at work, in restaurants. However, prolonged sitting is not as innocent as it seems at first glance. The negative consequences of prolonged sitting can begin to manifest in the form of many health problems that can affect the quality and length of life.
Why is sitting for long periods of time a problem?
Our body is designed for movement. When we sit, muscle activity decreases, metabolism slows down, blood circulation deteriorates and our body begins to work less efficiently. Prolonged sitting can therefore lead to many health problems.
Consequences of Prolonged Sitting
Studies have shown that prolonged sitting increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. This is due to the fact that blood flow slows down while sitting, which increases the chances of blood clots. At the same time, the level of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) in the body decreases, which help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Sitting slows down your metabolism, which means your body burns fewer calories. This can lead to weight gain and consequently obesity.
Prolonged sitting may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. When we sit, our bodies respond to insulin less effectively, which can lead to insulin resistance.
Problems with the spine
Sitting, especially if we do not maintain proper posture, increases pressure on the spine and can lead to back pain, herniated discs and other spine problems.
There is also research linking prolonged sitting to a higher risk of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.
How to Avoid the Negative Consequences of Sitting?
Simply put: move more! This does not mean that you have to go to the gym every day, but try to incorporate more movement into your everyday life. Walking, cycling, swimming, hiking, running, gardening – these are all activities that you can incorporate into your life.
If you spend most of your day in an office, try to get up and exercise every hour, or do your work standing if possible. It is also important to maintain proper posture when sitting.
Be aware that sitting for long periods of time is not healthy, and do what you can to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting.