The act of sitting is one of the most basic human functions. Sitting at work and during our commute is standard protocol in many cases. So is sitting on lunch breaks and during meetings. After a long day of work, what’s one of the most natural things to do? Sit down to unwind, maybe binge watch a favorite Netflix series?
While sitting can be viewed as a way to relax or recuperate, there is surprisingly more at stake.
Stand-Up For Your Health
The human body naturally wants to be active. Our bodies crave recreation and strive to burn off the calories consumed over the course of the day. Whether or not it’s realized, as soon as a person is seated, a small internal mechanism begins to become agitated and desires nothing more than to stand.
The average American spends 7.7 hours a day in sedentary behaviors such as sitting. Quite simply, we are sitting way too much! But why exactly is immoderate sitting bad for the human body? Isn’t sitting a way to relax and give your body a break?
Realistically, not really. It’s hurting, not helping.
Health Risks of Excessive Sitting
Sure, a temporary break to sit down can help us recuperate after harsh activity or process anxiety or stress. However, many health risks revolve around too much butt to chair contact.
Proper circulation requires standing; our lungs are slightly crunched in most seating positions; therefore, the body can’t get the amount of blood flow it needs while seated.
The bodies largest organ is elastic; our skin is stretchy and requires motion to stay that way over time.
Uneven pressure on the spine due to sitting can cause wear and tear on discs and strains muscles and joints.
Nerves and blood flow become blocked, so messages to the brain are affected and swelling can occur in the legs and feet.
Excessive sitting can have cognitive effects as well. The brain needs proper blood flow to function to it’s fullest potential!
There are long-term effects as well, including links to some cancers, heart diseases, diabetes, kidney, and liver issues.
Worldwide, inactivity causes roughly 9% of premature deaths. That’s around 5 million people a year!
How to be Proactive About Sitting Too Much
The psychology of your office or work space directly affects the amount of time you spend seated. Some companies such as Facebook and Mozilla allow their employees to tailor the height, layout, and configuration of their desks however they see fit. It’s based on personal preference, so their employees always have the option of a standing desk.
These types of freedoms are a step away from cliche, harmful office norms, and a leap in the direction of mobility and healthy lifestyles; just what the human structure desires.
Take walks at work, and whenever possible avoid being seated. Stand while you eat lunch, it’s seriously not that weird. Break the mold of the unhealthy demographic and recognize the real advantages of a healthy workplace.
Featured photo credit: Modern Office Setting via homestratosphere.com