If you’re like a lot of people, work includes sitting in front of a computer at a desk for eight hours or longer. Then, once work is over, it’s time to sit for a long car ride home. At the end of the day, we all like to sit down to eat, watch some television, or read a book and relax. By the time we head off to bed, we’ve already spent the vast majority of our day in a sitting position – and research is now showing that this habit of sitting for long periods of time is actually a health risk! Some people are going so far as to call sitting just as dangerous as smoking.
Do you wonder just how sitting can be so damaging to one’s health? We’ve put together a list of eight different ways that sitting might be wreaking havoc on your body.
1. Cancer Can Develop Due To Lack Of Movement.
Cancer is a scary word and one that we all want to avoid; however, researchers are now saying that sitting can play a significant role in the development of the frightening “C-word.» When we sit for long periods of time, the muscles in our body begin to change along with the body’s metabolism and certain signals, all of which can play a part in cancer.
2. Diabetes Type 2.
Sitting for long periods of time can cause diabetes type 2. When one has type 2 diabetes, it means that their body can’t deal with the glucose it receives, prompting it to make too much insulin initially but playing out and being unable to produce enough in the long-run. While some forms of diabetes are genetic, type 2 develops due to lifestyle. Sitting for too long is one of many factors that can play a role in type 2 diabetes development.
3. Sitting Too Long Can Cause Blood Clots.
As we all know, blood clots are a scary health threat. While the thick clumps of blood that form can be a lifesaver if you get seriously cut or injured by preventing bleeding to death, they also come with some health risks. In some cases, blood clots can move throughout the bloodstream, causing heart attacks, strokes, lung problems, and even death! The Mayo Clinic has now announced that blood clots can be caused by smoking, as a complication of pregnancy, and, surprise, from sitting for too long.
4. Heart Disease From Staying On Your Behind.
Sitting on your rump too long doesn’t just give you pain in the rear – it may also cause serious damage to your heart. Heart disease is caused by blood that doesn’t flow properly through the veins. While improper blood flow can often be improved by exercise and movement, it’s hard to move when you’re glued to your seat. If heart disease continues, it can ultimately damage your heart, hurt your blood vessels, and cause serious cardiovascular problems.
5. Herniated Discs Caused By Sitting.
If you’ve ever had a herniated disc, then you know you don’t want to have another! Herniated discs are caused when the soft tissue between the vertebrae in your spine is pushed out of place and the nerve is pinched. People who suffer from a herniated disc experience intense and often debilitating pain. The Washington Post let us know that sitting for extended periods of time puts extra pressure on our spines since our stomach muscles are taking a break; as a result, a herniated disc can occur.
6. Loss Of Muscle Strength.
Very few people want to look pudgy and soft; however, that’s exactly what you can expect when you sit for long periods of time. Muscles are activated when we exercise and even when we do everyday activities such as standing and walking. When you sit for a longer amount of time, your muscles don’t get any work, resulting in a soft and squishy look and feel.
7. Heart Problems And Heart Attacks.
As we mentioned earlier, sitting can aid in the development of dangerous blood clots. These clots can form in the heart where the World Health Organization tells us they will lead to extreme chest tightness or even a heart attack. Since heart attacks can be fatal, it’s important to keep this vital muscle in good shape!
8. Dementia And Memory Problems.
Dementia is not a disease that you can catch like the flu; instead, it is a condition that develops over time when a person starts to lose their ability to remember things along with their reasoning skills. While dementia has many causes, one of them is poor blood flow. Since sitting in a chair for long periods of time can cause poor circulation, there is a reason to believe that it can play a role in the development of dementia.
What To Do
Regardless of how much we may wish that we were active, the truth is that some of our jobs simply require a lot of sitting. The Washington Post gathered experts who tackled the issue and came up with some suggestions. The pros say that one of the best ways to avoid health problems is to take some time to walk around; while this may not be possible while you’re at the desk, make sure to take time to walk when you’re at home, during your lunch break, or while running errands. Experts also say that you should make sure you use proper posture when you are sitting down, and consider opting for an exercise ball rather than a traditional chair. Yoga is also a great way to reverse the damage done by sitting for extended periods of time.
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