After braving the thronging crowds, sweating in the unbearable summer heat and after inhaling tons of the polluted air… you have finally reached your office! And all that you want to do now is just sit and relax in you air conditioned cubicle for a while.
But, what happens after we are finally ensconced in our little air conditioned cubicles, away from the sun’s heat and those crazy crowds? We Sit. And that’s about it! All we do is sit in our cubicles to do our work, sit in the canteens to have our food, sit in never ending meetings… All this sitting is bound to have an effect on our bodies.
This effect is seen in the form of that expanding waist line, a little paunch that refuses to back down, a double chin and so on. While all these are just superficial changes, have you ever wondered what is going on in the inside of the body with your relentless sitting.
‘Sitting is killing’, so say the Experts!
A recent study conducted in Canada on the same subject that involved 17,000 subjects, found a link between sitting and the increased risk of heart disease related deaths. The study stated that the more an individual sat, the more his chances were of dying within 12 years from a heart disease related death.
Similarly another study that was published in the medical journal, Circulation found that every hour that was spent watching TV in a sitting position resulted in a increase in the chances of a heart disease related death, for the individual by a whopping 18%.
A study that was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine also stated that 4 hours of prolonged sitting led the body to start sending out harmful signals. The study further stated that the genes which regulate the amount of fat and glucose in the body begin to shut down after prolonged sitting, leading to diabetes, heart diseases and many more such serious conditions.
Effects of Prolonged Sitting
With experts proclaiming prolonged sitting to be extremely harmful to the body what with it leading to fatal heart diseases, we list down the other possible effects of long term prolonged sitting on the body,
Ever noticed that colleague with a huge belly? Chances are he’s working long hours and sitting a lot in the process. With the 21st century relegating most work to a few keystrokes of our keyboard, most of us are spending a majority of our days sitting on our desks in front of the computers. With research proving that sitting reduces the production of fat fighting enzymes by almost 50%, the expanding wait lines of today’s populations should not be a surprise!
Moreover it’s a given that heart diseases are bound to follow obesity, as obesity is not only due to prolonged sitting but also due to bad eating habits, lack of exercise and high stress levels. Eating junk food and greasy fast food which contains trans- fats oil and high sodium content leads to an increase in the cholesterol levels which in turn leads to an increase in the individuals chances of developing a heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and many more such serious health conditions.
Plus with new research stating that the effect of the one hour of exercise done in the morning, is almost negated if you are sitting for 8-9 hours at a stretch at your workplace. A better solution to beat obesity caused by prolonged sitting is to take frequent breaks and climb stairs or simply walk around in the office corridors for a 5 minute time period.
Long periods of prolonged sitting lead to a poor posture which in turn leads to back ache and lower back ache. With prolonged sitting if the head, neck and shoulders of the individual are not aligned in an almost straight line, then there are plenty of chances of the individual suffering from pain in the back and shoulder muscles.
Other harms of a poor posture due to prolonged sitting at work are that it leads to wrist injuries, especially for those who make extensive use of the computer or the laptop for work purposes. Poor posture in many at work is also largely responsible for them suffering from Spondylitis.
Sitting for long periods of time at work without taking breaks or much movement can lead to eye strain, itchy eyes, a burning feeling, watery eyes etc. While this effect may not be as harmful as other effects caused by prolonged sitting and can be reversed, it does cause a visible discomfort to the individual.
Individuals who sit for long periods of time at work experience poor blood circulation. This is mainly due to the lack of movement when one sits, which slows down one’s heart activity and blood flow. The upright positioning of the body while sitting also causes problems in the circulation, leading to the blood being pooled which can cause varicose veins in the long run.
Other problems of a poor blood circulation are that less blood reaches the muscles, depriving them of oxygen and other necessary nutrients, leading to fatigue. This explains why people who sit for longer periods of time feel tired by the end of the day!
With prolonged sitting at work promoting limited movement of muscles, most big muscle groups go through long phases of immobility. Lack of exercise is the primary reason why most muscles become weak plus with poor blood circulation, muscles tend to cramp, get strained or pulled after prolonged sitting.
Now that you know of the harmful effects of prolonged sitting at work, do make it a point to stand up after regular intervals and take a walk or two, in fact it would be great if you were to re-read this article standing up!