Time escapes us when we sit. As humans, we can sit for hours on end without realising it, let alone realising the harm it causes our bodies.
The virtues of being vertical have been lost on our society. The average human spends 75% of the day sitting at a desk. And in the time you’re not slouching in front of a computer screen, you’re most likely scrolling through your phone or watching TV, which is just as damaging.
The truth is, excessive sitting is slowly destroying us. The scarier part is, most of us don’t even know it’s happening.
Our bodies are built to be upright. While sitting down can bring short-term comfort and relief, like sugar, too much of it will have serious consequences on our health.
Good posture brought about by regular standing is the key to a healthy and happy life; in this blog, we’ll explain why. To help you on the road to a healthier and happier life, we’re going to give you a peak into the ABCs of illnesses caused by excessive sitting.
Let’s get started.
A – Ageing
Recent research shows that sedentariness is a catalyst for ageing. When the telomere (a nucleotide sequence of DNA) of two different lifestyles (one active and the other inactive) were compared and repeatedly recorded, the active one had a longer telomere, while the inactive one had a shorter telomere (this had shortened with every recording, showing slow degeneration). Since telomere is a marker for a person’s biological age, it’s clear that inactivity accelerates ageing. Furthermore, the health issues caused by sitting indirectly impact the ageing process.
B – Blood pressure
Immobility and lack of physical activity means blood pressure goes unregulated, resulting in hypertension or high blood pressure. Conversely, if you move more and make use of a standing desk while at work, you will ensure a far greater chance of keeping your blood pressure at a safe level.
C – Cholesterol
It’s no secret: too much-sitting results in weight gain. When that weight starts showing around the hips and waist, however, you have a greater risk of developing high cholesterol levels which can lead to serious heart conditions.
D – Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Lack of bodily movement reduces blood circulation. The blood then pools in certain parts of the body, causing blood clots which can lead to issues like Deep Vein Thrombosis. DVT has devastating long-term consequences, such as the inability to walk properly, or worse: loss of the ability to walk completely.
H – Heart problems
When we sit for a long period, our bodies’ fat-burning ability is drastically reduced, resulting in poor blood circulation as well as a build-up of fatty acids. When these acids have nowhere to go, they settle in the arteries, blocking the entry and exit of blood to the heart, making heart attacks a very real possibility.
I – Inactivity
The human body was designed to be vertical, not slouched in a chair. Every time we sit for a prolonged period, we invite a new health problem that has short- and long-term repercussions. Inactivity, although seemingly harmless, does much more damage to your body than you may think. By improving your posture at work and moving more, you can save yourself from a plethora of health complications in the future.
M – Mental health issues like depression and anxiety
Sitting not only causes physical but also mental health issues: those that typically go unnoticed. When you sit for too long, you can lose the motivation to do anything. When you lose motivation, you tend to spend less time outdoors, meaning your brain will be deprived of fresh air and vitamin D. Your level of social interaction may also drop, opening the door to feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression.
N – Nerve damage
Too much sitting can numb the whole body while creating a series of blood clusters. Similarly, sitting also numbs the nerves, which bears a lot of pressure and can lead to chronic damage.
O – Obesity
There is an abundance of scientific evidence showing a strong correlation between excessive sitting and weight gain. This happens as a result of decreased lipoprotein lipase activity which seriously impedes the body’s ability to burn fat. When the fat-burning process slows down, the body burns carbohydrates instead of fat, meaning weight is not lost at all. Even if you follow a low-calorie diet, sitting for extended periods will significantly reduce your body’s ability to burn fat.
P – Poor posture
‘The average person is not able to sit down for more than three minutes without falling into a slumped or slouched posture’, says clinical director Mohamed Taha. Poor posture often leads to a variety of chronic health and mobility problems which will impact severely your quality of life. Being mindful of your posture is therefore incredibly important.
S – Sugar
Inactivity puts stress on cells to produce insulin which spikes blood sugar when under too much pressure. Both of these factors combined can become big contributors to diabetes.
T – Type 2 Diabetes
People with a sedentary lifestyle are at a significantly greater risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Lack of bodily movement serves to weaken muscles and results in lower insulin sensitivity which, in turn, raises the chances of contracting diabetes.
V – Varicose veins
When the body is immobile for a long time, blood circulation slows to the point where blood starts gathering in various parts of the body. This gives rise to spiderweb-like networks called varicose veins, and can result in swollen legs, calves, and ankles. While this condition is easily treated, ignoring varicose veins can lead to more serious health concerns like blood clots and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
W – Weak legs and glutes/muscles
Being idle deprives your muscles of any physical effort. So, instead of making them flexible, we loosen them up. Loose muscles are unable to help us stand or support our body properly, thus weakening the legs and glutes. You might think exercising will compensate for your continuous sitting habits, but it won’t undo the damage sitting has already done to your body internally.
Now that you are aware of the dangers of excessive sitting, you can start thinking about ways you can get your body moving to enhance your own well-being.
On top of eating and sleeping well, getting more exercise and improving your posture, we strongly recommend investing in a standing desk. Standing up at work and committing to moving more frequently throughout the workday is critical if you want to avoid the health issues mentioned in this blog. A suitable standing desk will allow you to work comfortably and productively while allowing your body to function as it should.
Explore our selection of specialist standing desks and make a change for the better today.