IS sitting so bad for you? There are a lot of studies that show sitting for long periods of time can be dangerous. In fact, some are calling it the new smoking.
CUE: The Clash’s “Should I stay or should I go now”…Of course with new lyrics: should I sit or should I stand now?
Well, according to Better Health Victoria – a government body – there are a number of factors and dangers that can be attributed to prolonged sitting:
Legs and gluteals (bum muscles)
Sitting for long periods can lead to atrophy. Essentially, use it or lose it!
Moving your muscles helps your body digest the fats and sugars you eat. So, because standing uses more muscles, you can burn more fats and sugars. You might not have known this, but if you spend a lot of time sitting, digestion is not as efficient, so you retain those fats and sugars as fat in your body.
Hips and back
Sitting causes your hip flexor muscles to shorten, which can lead to problems with your hip joints. Something you don’t want to be doing.
Stiff neck and shoulders
If you spend your time hunched over a computer screen – um yeah, most of us! – this can lead to pain and stiffness in your neck and shoulders. So if you can’t afford a massage one a day, week, or even a month then you might want to consider the benefits of standing more than sitting while working.
Anxiety and depression
While there’s no direct correlation to improving ones mood by standing instead of sitting, there is, however, some speculation that there are certain factors around being more upright and the link it has with better mental health. I think it’s more to do with being up and mobile, and getting around instead of spending a lot of time sitting. It’s potentially those who are sitting for prolonged periods are missing the positive effects of physical activity and fitness. If so, getting up and moving may help.
Cancer, Heart disease, Diabetes, Varicose veins, Deep vein thrombosis
I’m not going to go into these, but there seems to be some links to excessive sitting and some more serious health consequences.
So, when you ask yourself should I sit or should I stand now, you might have a better idea of what you should be doing.