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The harm of sitting all day

Who would’ve thought that doing something as simple as sitting in a chair at work all day could have damaging affects on your body? Sitting for more than eight hours a day without any exercise could do detrimental damage to your internal organs, muscles, legs, brain and back. This is why many are saying, “sitting is the new smoking”.

Let’s talk about hearts, first. By sitting all day, our muscles burn less fat and blood starts to flow more sluggishly, which allows fatty acids to easily clog up our hearts. Sitting for long periods of time have been known to cause high blood pressure and raise cholesterol levels. Those who sit more than others are more than twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease than those who sit less.

If you sit too much, your pancreas will be over productive. Cells in muscles that don’t move don’t respond as readily to insulin. This means the pancreas will over produce, which can lead to diabetes and other diseases. There is also a theory that because the pancreas will be over productive, people who sit too long have a greater risk for colon, breast and endometrial cancers.

The affects sitting has on your muscles are a soft abdomen, tight hips and limp glutes. When you’re moving, standing or sitting up straight, your abdominal muscles are what keep you upright. But if you slump in a chair all day, they’re unused. Having flexible hips help you keep balance. But when you sit all day, your front hip flexor muscles become short and tight, limiting the range of motion and your stride length. Studies have shown that decreased hip mobility is the main reason why elderly people tend to fall.

By not moving all day, your glutes will get too accustomed to it which can hurt your stability, your ability to push off and to maintain a powerful stride. Sitting all day also causes poor circulation in your legs and soft bones. Because you aren’t moving for long periods of time, your blood circulation slows down and causes fluid to pool in your legs. This can cause swollen ankles and varicose veins to very dangerous blood clots that are called deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

When you’re sitting all day, your brain starts to slow and you can start to lack inspiration and get tired more easily. You also start to strain your neck. Whether it’s by craning your neck toward your keyboard or trying to cradle your phone while typing, your neck starts to severely suffer. This can all lead to imbalances. With the strain on your neck and slumping forward, it overextends your shoulders and back muscles.

Lastly, being immobile for too long leads to an inflexible spine and disk damage. What’s the moral of the story? Get up and move. Whether it’s to stretch around in your office, take the long way to the restroom or simply refilling your coffee. You definitely need to get up and move around every half hour. Your body will thank you in the long run.