Humans are adopting increasingly sedentary lifestyles. We spend most of our days sitting; whether we are driving, at work or school, or even out to lunch with friends. Quick exercise breaks can help to alleviate the health costs of sitting, but there’s no denying that this change in lifestyle is having an adverse effect on our health.
The idea of sitting being unhealthy for humans may seem bizarre. Sitting is a natural human body posture which we adopt while in a relaxed or resting state. People eat, drink, work, study, and even travel while sitting. You may think of sitting as being second nature; however, doing so excessively is bad for your health. Standing instead of sitting has become one of the biggest health improvement movements in recent years, particularly in the workplace.
There are many reasons as to why sitting can be detrimental.
- Standing qualifies as non-exercise activity thermogenesis, also known as NEAT, which encompasses those everyday activities that help burn calories, such as fidgeting, gesturing and shivering. People who lose out on non-exercise activity thermogenesis are at a higher risk of weight gain. This increased propensity occurs because sitting or lying down uses less energy, which means there are less to no calories to burn.
- As stated previously, sitting for too long and too often can cause weight gain. Research has shown that people who are obese consistently sit for more than two hours at a time. The link between sitting and obesity is no coincidence, as a general lack of exercise, especially when combined with a high calorie intake, can be a powerful contributing factor to obesity.
- Sitting for too long can contribute to various diseases. Heart disease and Type 2 diabetes are two of the major diseases caused and exacerbated by sitting too much.
- Standing improves your posture and reduces aches and stiffness. People who choose to stand over sitting often note that their minds feel more clear and that they have a better ability to concentrate.
- Varicose veins may result from sitting for too long. Sitting excessively causes blood to pool in the legs, which can cause the veins to swell and bulge. Spider veins and broken blood vessels may be visible as well. Although they aren’t completely harmful to your health, you may feel aches after periods of inactivity.
- Exercising does not undo the effects of sitting for too long. Of course, exercising may counteract some of the unhealthy effects of sitting, but not completely.
Increase your lifespan and take care of your health by not sitting or lying down too frequently. If remaining sedentary is inevitable, try standing instead of sitting while at work, walking when you can, and getting at least 30 minutes of exercise in every day! Getting adjusted can increase mobility, comfort, and even aid in weight loss.