Sitting for long periods isn’t good for your health. It can lead to a variety of negative effects on the body, including back pain, joint stiffness, and even heart disease. Even if you exercise regularly, sitting for extended periods can hurt your health. That’s because most people spend most of their day sitting or reclining.
Many people spend more than half of their waking hours either sitting or reclining. We sit while commuting to and from work while eating meals while watching TV or reading books and while working at computers.
It Can Reduce Your Life
If you sit too much, you increase your risk of mortality by nearly 30 percent, according to a 2013 Australian study. The study found that people who sat for more than seven hours per day had a 28 percent higher mortality rate than people who sat for three hours per day or less.
The researchers aren’t sure why, but they suspect that accumulated metabolic byproducts from sitting for long periods build up in your bloodstream and increase your risk of mortality. Sitting too much also increases your risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancers.
You’re More Likely to Develop Dementia
Sitting for long periods can raise your risk of developing dementia. A 2017 study found that sitting for more than six hours a day increases your risk of developing dementia by 43 percent.
The study also found that even people who exercised regularly were at risk if they sat for long periods. Sitting too much may increase the buildup of amyloid plaques, which are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
It Hurts Your Heart
People who sit for more than six hours a day have a higher risk of heart disease than people who sit for less than three hours a day, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Sitting too much can cause your blood pressure to rise, your cholesterol levels to increase and your blood sugar levels to spike, which can all increase your risk for heart disease. The more hours you sit, the higher your risk for heart disease becomes.
You’ll undo all those exercises
Exercising regularly is an excellent way to improve your health and reduce your risk of many diseases. But if you spend most of your day sitting, you may undo the positive effects of your exercise routine. A 2018 study found that the more time people spent sitting, the less muscle mass they had, regardless of how much exercise they got. So even if you exercise a lot, if you sit for long periods, you can undo the positive effects of exercising.
Diabetes Increases Your Odds
Sitting for extended periods has been linked to increased odds of developing type 2 diabetes. A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that people who sat for more than six hours a day were twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as people who sat for less than three hours a day.
The rotated posture from sitting too much
If you sit for long periods, you are more likely to develop poor posture. Sitting for long periods can cause your shoulders to round forward and your head to droop. This can lead to muscle spasms and stiffness and a variety of health problems. Sitting for too long can also cause your pelvis to tilt backward, which can cause your lower back to arch and cause pain.
You Could Get DVT
Sitting for long periods can increase your blood’s tendency to clot, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). This can lead to blood clots, which can travel from your legs up to your lungs.
This is known as a pulmonary embolism (PE). Sitting for long periods has been shown to increase a person’s risk of developing blood clots by up to three times. The longer you sit, the higher your risk becomes.
You will gain weight
Even if you follow a low-calorie diet, you may not lose weight if you sit for most of the day. Studies have found that people who sit for long periods are more likely to become overweight than people who sit for only a few hours a day.
Researchers don’t know exactly why sitting for long periods can lead to weight gain, but they suspect that it has something to do with metabolic changes in the body.
It Wrecks Your Back
Long hours of sitting can put a lot of stress on your back muscles. Over time, this can lead to chronic back pain. A study published in the journal Ergonomics found that people who sit for long periods are more likely to develop lower back pain than people who sit for shorter periods.
The best way to prevent back pain from sitting for long periods is to sit up straight. You can also stretch frequently and do exercises designed to strengthen your core muscles to help prevent back pain from sitting.
Sitting for long periods is bad for your health, both mentally and physically. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce the negative effects of sitting too much. You can take breaks from sitting every couple of hours, you can change your posture to reduce back pain and you can schedule breaks during your day to get up and move around.