With the rise of technology and the increasing trend of remote work, many people find themselves spending the all-day sitting at a desk. While this may seem like no big deal in the short term, research shows that prolonged sitting can have serious long-term consequences on your physical and mental health.
Physical Health Risks
One of the main health risks associated with sitting for extended periods of time is an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. When we sit for long periods, our heart rate decreases and circulation slows down, which can lead to a build-up of plaque in the arteries. Over time, this can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems (Sedentary Behaviour Research Network, 2012).
Sitting for long periods of time can also lead to a number of musculoskeletal problems, such as back pain, neck pain, and shoulder pain. This is because when we sit, our muscles are in a static position, which can cause them to tighten and become stiff. This can lead to chronic pain and discomfort, and can even affect our posture over time (Dasgupta, 2017).
Another physical health risk associated with sitting all day is a higher risk of obesity and other health problems related to being overweight. Sitting for long periods of time decreases our metabolism and burns fewer calories, which can contribute to weight gain and an increased risk of health problems related to being overweight (Katzmarzyk et al., 2009).
Mental Health Risks
Prolonged sitting can also have serious effects on our mental health. Research shows that people who sit for long periods of time are at an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and stress (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). This may be due in part to the lack of physical activity and exposure to natural light, both of which can impact our mental wellbeing (Berman et al., 2008).
Additionally, sitting for long periods of time can lead to feelings of boredom, restlessness, and frustration. This can contribute to feelings of stress and burnout, and can negatively impact our ability to focus and be productive at work (Everly & Losier, 2014).
How to Counter the Effects of Prolonged Sitting
Fortunately, there are ways to counteract the negative effects of sitting at your desk all day. Here are a few tips to help you stay healthy and avoid the long-term consequences of prolonged sitting:
- Get up and move around every hour. Even just a few minutes of stretching or light exercise can help to improve circulation, relieve muscle tension, and boost your energy levels (Harvard, 2017).
- Take breaks from your computer screen. Looking at a screen for extended periods of time can lead to eye strain and headaches. Taking regular breaks and looking away from your screen can help to prevent these problems (American Optometric Association, 2018).
- Invest in an ergonomic chair and set-up. An ergonomic chair can help to support your back and neck, and a proper desk set-up can help to prevent posture problems and muscle strain (Dasgupta, 2017).
- Make time for Desk to Bikini™ Link here https://videos.desktobikini.com/join exercises right at your desk. Regular exercise can help to counteract the negative effects of prolonged sitting and improve your overall health. These exercises can be done at your desk without the need for special equipment.
- Take time to stretch. Stretching can help to relieve muscle tension, improve posture, and increase flexibility.
Sedentary Behaviour Research Network. (2012). Sitting time and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. The Lancet, 380(9838), 219-229.
Dasgupta, K. (2017). The dangers of sitting. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 47(4), 247-257.
Katzmarzyk, P. T., Church, T. S., Craig, C. L., & Bouchard, C. (2009). Sitting time and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 41(5), 998-1005.
Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117(3), 497-529.
Berman, M. G., Jonides, J., & Kaplan, S. (2008). The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. Psychological Science, 19(12), 1207-1212.
Everly, G. S., & Losier, B. (2014). The essentials of crisis counseling. John Wiley & Sons.
Harvest, M. (2017). Sitting for long periods of time: Effects on your health and how to combat them. Harvard Health Publishing.
American Optometric Association. (2018). Computer vision syndrome. American Optometric Association.Read more: The Alarming Dangers of Sitting at Your Desk All Day: Understanding the Long-Term Consequences Read more: The Alarming Dangers of Sitting at Your Desk All Day: Understanding the Long-Term Consequences