When you have an office job you can sometimes find that you get to the end of day and have barely moved from your desk. You may even stay at your desk throughout your lunch break, where it is easy to eat and surf the internet without getting cold outdoors.
This is a slippery slope however. Before you know it, you’ll be sitting for 8 hours straight, only to go home and sit for the remainder of the day before going to bed. Over time this can have a severe impact on your body and health, so we have looked into the effects of prolonged sitting and what you can do to avoid them.
How will sitting effect my health?
There are many conditions that can develop as a result of sitting for extended periods of time on a daily basis. Obesity is one that you will be able to easily notice over time, feeling as though you are more sluggish and realising that your clothes are a little more snug than they used to be.
This can in turn lead to heart disease, something which can be very serious if not spotted and treated quickly. A lack of movement throughout the day can also give you high blood pressure, a slower metabolism and lead to varicose veins or deep vein thrombosis, where blood and clots can collect in the legs. Being inactive has links to the development of cancer and also type 2 diabetes, both of which are known to be life changing conditions.
What are the less obvious effects?
It’s not just physical medical conditions that can be developed when sitting for long periods of time. You may feel that you have a constant lack of energy, feel anxious or depressed for much of the time and you may also notice that your social skills are starting to suffer from being in your own seated bubble for too long.
A bad back and poor posture are obvious outcomes from being sat in the same position for more than 8 hours each day. Noticing aches in your shoulders and neck are tell-tale signs that something is not right, which you should act upon as soon as you can in order to stop them from worsening.
What can I do to prevent it?
There are of course things that you can do to stop any conditions developing through sitting all day, which will help to keep you fit, healthy and pain free. Taking a break every 30 minutes is a great start. It does not need to be a full on break where you leave the building, simply standing up and stretching your legs will help. Walk over to the printer, go and refresh your glass of water, walk over to your colleagues desk rather than calling or emailing - these will all help to break that sitting cycle, helping to stimulate both your body and mind. Also take the stairs wherever you can and arrange walking meetings outside rather than moving from one seat to another in a conference room.
You can also make a more effective change right at your desk space. Consider using a standing desk in place of your current one, it will give you the option of stretching your legs as much as you wish, without having to lose time away from your computer. An adjustable standing desk is easy to use and can be changed from a seated position to standing in just a matter of seconds. The benefits that this can offer you are priceless and will literally change the way you work forever.