Sitting all day is not fun. Even if it means chilling on the sofa munching your favorite snacks. A normal working human spends at least six hours a day sitting. This causes many health drawbacks. An average of 30 – 40 minutes of physical exercise is required to stay healthy if a person sits for ten hours a day. If not, what are the side effects of sitting all day? And how to reduce the effects of sitting all day? Is there any exercise to do while sitting? Let’s find out.
Side effects of sitting all day
The most commonly known effects of sitting for prolonged periods of time are back pain, neck pain, shoulder stiffness, weight gain and a widened butt. These effects are not perceived as life-threatening which is why people don’t feel the need to exercise. There are other harmful effects to sitting all day—some of which can be deadly too.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Sitting in a chair with your legs hanging down can cause blood to pool in your legs and eventually cause blood clots. DVT is a type of blood clot that commonly occurs in the legs. When these blood clots break off they can cut blood flow to other organs like the lungs, which in turn can lead to pulmonary embolism which is deadly at times.
This is a less deadly yet painful side effect of sitting all day. Legs accumulate blood if left hanging down for hours. The increased blood causes veins in the legs to swell, bulge or twist which is called varicose veins.
Heart diseases and Diabetes
If not exercising properly, sitting for too long everyday will cause weight gain and with it comes higher cholesterol, blood pressure and a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases like, heart attack. Studies have found that insulin resistance is more in people who don’t sit all day. Insulin resistance is a must to help avoid diabetes.
Anxiety and Depression
Sitting all day also means not interacting with the outside world. This can lead to mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Staying put in one place no matter how bright or entertaining it is, will influence the mind. Keeping the mind active is needed through physical activity too.
Solutions for sitting all day at work
Introducing exercises to your daily routine can significantly reduce health problems that arise from sitting all day. Here are some exercises to do while sitting or in between sitting at work all day.
One of the most recommended health tips is taking the stairs instead of the elevator. It helps increase the heart rate in a good way, improves balance and strengthens the lower body. This is a creative and easy exercise to do between sitting for prolonged periods of time.
Get moving when watching TV
Start with doing small stretches during your next Netflix binge-watch session. Or do some Zumba moves when hearing your favorite songs at home. These could be perfect exercises for sitting at a computer all day.
This is a bit unconventional but if you have scheduled one-to-one meetings with office colleagues and it doesn’t require you to use any devices, walk and do the meeting. If you have a call to take, walk and take it if possible. It will get you fresh air, movement and even boost creativity as some studies indicate.
Height-adjustable desk or treadmill desk
Opt for a height-adjustable desk so you can stand and work for some time. This will help in avoiding varicose veins or DVT that occur due to excess pooling of blood in the legs.
Walking and working from a treadmill is also a good option if you are working from home. Get those steps in and stay at a healthy heart rate!
Hope these options and exercises to do while sitting help you. If you are having serious back issues due to sitting all day, kindly contact your doctor for better advice and treatment.