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Although the desk and the chair are the most common duo in an office environment, sitting all day at your job might very well be leading to a lot of negative side effects. Ranging from health problems to productivity problems, these issues rear their ugly head over the course of months and years of sitting all day.
For many, moving to a standing desk at work has proven to be beneficial to their health while also boosting productivity levels. Here are 16 reasons sitting all day is hurting your health. If this is you, you might want to look at switching to a standing desk.
Health Risks from Sitting Too Long
We all know it is important to have physical activity to keep ourselves healthy. However, does it mean that it’s bad to sit all day? Let’s go over the side effects sitting and incorrect posture has on our bodies.
1. Fatigue from Sitting Too Long
Putting all your weight on your bum isn’t a normal position for the body. Our bodies were generally built for standing up. Sitting, especially for extended periods of time, can be strenuous to your system.
Even your bottom will begin to feel sore from the weight of carrying your entire body. When this happens, it is best to stand up and walk around for a few minutes. Or, you can avoid this problem all together by simply working in a standing, upright position.
2. Not Enough Exercise
When you’re seated at work, your body doesn’t get to move around as much as needs to. To maintain good health, your body needs to have a certain amount of activity per day to keep your bodily systems well balanced. When you sit at work for days on end, you compromise the movement your body needs.
This can be a problem as it can result in obesity in some cases.
3. Leg Pain
Your legs, aside from doing the job of carrying your body through your daily activities, also transport deoxygenated blood from your feet back to the heart. When you are seated, your veins have to work twice as hard to carry the blood back to the heart because of the abnormal position.
In some cases where people have weak veins, the deoxygenated blood pools in their legs causing veins to appear strained and angered. This abnormality is more commonly known as varicose veins, and can be quite painful for those who experience it.
4. Back Pain
As mentioned, sitting down is not a natural position for the body. When you sit down, sometimes you hunch your back. This causes your spine to turn into a dangerous C shape. When done frequently, it can take a toll on your overall health.
This improper posture not only causes temporary pain in the back but can also cause bigger problems in the future. Conditions such as Osteoporosis and other bone deficiencies could be avoided all together by being mindful of your bodily positions.
5. Shoulder Pain
Being in a common yet unusual position such as sitting can already cause unwanted stress and pain to your shoulders. Hunching over while sitting down can cause even greater discomfort as your shoulders try to carry the weight evenly.
This can be avoided by keeping a straight back to maintain proper posture. Or, you can decrease the amount of time you spend sitting down.
6. Neck Pain
When you aren’t standing upright, your neck, just like your shoulders, carries weight in your body unevenly. Sporting improper posture means there is more pressure on the neck causing undue stress and discomfort.
Other than pressure, blood flow from the neck to the brain can also be distorted.
Being in an unnatural position for extended periods of time, such as sitting, can reduce blood and oxygen flow to the brain. Headaches, as well as other natural side effects such as sleepiness can also be triggered by improper posture.
When you feel sleepy from being seated, it’s not because you are tired. Most of the time it is your body’s way of telling you it needs oxygen. Yawning is your body’s reflex. When you yawn, you take in as much air as you can with the deep inhale and wide opening of your mouth.
8. Risk of Disease
Sitting down for long periods of time day by day not only creates temporary issues. It also takes a toll on your immune systems, and more importantly, your heart.
When you are seated, you use less energy than your body is meant to be doing. Aside from high blood sugar and obesity, people who sit more than they move are also found to have higher levels of cholesterol and blood pressure.
9. Blood Pressure
Other than ethnicity, old age, and family history, you can impact the pressure of blood flow within your body by the amount of physical activity you partake in each day.
When you sit down for long periods of time, you lack the movement and exercise your body needs on a daily basis, thus causing blood pressure to increase. Having high blood pressure for an extended amount of time can lead to hypertension. This consistently puts a strain on your heart and vessels. These occurrences can lead to a stroke, heart attack, and even death.
When your body is sedentary, and you are seated more than you move, you are at a much higher risk of gaining weight. Your body’s fat burning enzymes are slowed down because of the lack of movement. Your body doesn’t burn enough of the food you take in.
The excess food intake that isn’t burned off is turned into fat for the body, causing obesity.
Productivity Drawbacks from Sitting All Day
It’s a given that sitting for long hours is a health hazard. However, studies show that not only does it have a negative impact on the body, but it also affects the efficiency among individuals at work.
When you haven’t been moving for the past six hours, your mind and body are bound to experience some kind of pain or discomfort. That feeling of uneasiness can reflect on your output and mood as you may feel clutter-minded and all over the place.
Meanwhile, strive for attaining proper posture through sitting upright, using a standing desk, or walking around. Not only will it be good for your heart, but it will also have a great impact on your focus at work. This frees your mind from distractions from musculoskeletal issues that are present when you have improper posture.
12. Low Creativity
Not only is your body’s natural circulation compromised when you are seated, but so are the ideas and the thought processes of your mind.
When you stand upright while working, your body’s circulation is normal, reducing any pain or discomfort that may hinder clear thinking. Operating at your body’s natural position can even help boost creativity and productivity.
13. Low Energy
Feelings of fatigue and sleepiness are also caused by sitting for hours. Because of your position, blood and oxygen travel much slower to your brain that it would if you were in an upright, standing position.
When working with a standing desk, you feel much more awake as you fight all feelings of fatigue and sleepiness. Because blood and oxygen travel freely through your body, your mind will feel much more alert and ready to take on any task at work.
14. Low Productivity
Sitting down for long periods of time can make you feel lazy, and can often lead to low productivity.
Thankfully enough, you can fight this feeling by positioning yourself in a standing, upright position. This allows you to feel much more empowered and energized to work on your tasks. Your body will feel ready to focus on anything you put your attention to.
15. Afternoon Lull
You may be on a roll the entire morning. But, as soon as you take your lunch break, you may feel sluggish and sleepy.
Standing in an upright position can fight this. It gives you the energy boost to take on your duties for the rest of the day. Aside from promoting proper circulation throughout your body, standing up and walking around can literally help you feel more energized to work your day job, while fighting the midday slump.
16. Too Much Coffee
Feeling sleepy? Looking to find a quick boost through caffeine? According to science, drinking too much coffee can speed up your heart rate causing palpitations, headaches, and stomachaches.
Instead of trying to find a temporary solution to a small problem, consider propping yourself up to a standing work desk to keep your mind and body energized through out the day. Caffeine might give you the energy boost you’re looking for, but it’s only temporary. The proper posture on the other hand, allows your mind to work at its full potential.
Sitting down may be comfortable, and while it may feel like it is the best way to work, your body and your work output often tell you otherwise. The health and productivity detractors of sitting are numerous. Try to make an effort to reduce how long you sit each day by taking breaks and getting plenty of exercise.
If it makes sense for you, consider trying a standing desk at work as well.