Carving out some time for yourself and kicking back is crucial to take care of your well-being. Excessive sitting can result in negative effects on your body.
Even unwinding after a long day at the office may not be as beneficial as you think. Ponder this: spending the entire day sitting, only to return home and sit again.
Let’s explore how this prolonged sitting can adversely affect your body.
- Sluggish Digestion Frequently, individuals who spend extended periods sitting also eat while seated. Post-meal sitting can compress the abdomen and slow down the digestive process. This sluggish digestion can result in minor inconveniences like constipation, heartburn, bloating, cramps, and, over time, weight gain.
- Posture Problems Prolonged sitting can lead to discomfort in your shoulders, neck, and back. It can also contribute to poor posture, which may eventually lead to back issues or neck and shoulder strains. The more time spent sitting, the greater the likelihood of slipping into a slouched position. Particularly when working at a computer, people often hunch their necks and shoulders forward, causing strain when held for extended periods. Moreover, sitting exerts more pressure on your back than standing, and the spine’s vertebrae are designed to expand and contract with movement. Lengthy sitting can compress the spinal discs and reduce flexibility, increasing the risk of a herniated disc.
- Leg Ailments The saying “use it or lose it” applies when sitting for prolonged periods. Inactivity and excessive sitting can lead to poor circulation, blood clots, swelling, weakened bones, varicose veins, and, in extreme cases, osteoporosis. Staying active and maintaining proper circulation is essential. It’s simple: during TV commercial breaks, take a short walk, or walk for a few minutes every hour, even while at work. These breaks allow you to stretch your legs, boost blood flow, and provide a mental refresh.
- Weakened Muscles Typically, the more active you are, the stronger and more flexible your muscles become. Resting after exercise is essential, but don’t forget to stretch your muscles; otherwise, they may become tight and leave you sore the next day. Prolonged sitting doesn’t just affect your legs; standing and walking engage various muscles that remain inactive while sitting. Extended sitting can potentially lead to muscle degeneration in the abs, glutes, calves, hips, and more.
How to Mitigate These Risks Here are a few simple strategies to counteract the hazards of prolonged sitting:
- Opt for the stairs whenever possible to boost your heart rate and circulation.
- Park farther away from your destination and take longer walks.
- In an office setting, walk over to your colleagues or classmates instead of sending emails.
- Use a chair without armrests to encourage better posture.
- Set a reminder to move around for at least 10 minutes every hour.
- Incorporate walks during coffee breaks, lunch, or before and after classes, and consider hitting the gym.
- Stretch regularly and utilize an exercise ball. You can even do small leg raises under your desk instead of using a footrest.
Becoming a couch potato after a mentally taxing day may seem tempting, but it does nothing to benefit your physical health. If you haven’t been able to incorporate stretches into your daily routine, consider hitting the gym after work. It will offer benefits both mentally and physically.