How sitting too much is bad for you and steps you can take to sit less
The human body evolved for an active life. Our ancestors had to stay busy as a matter of survival. For modern humans, life might not be quite so active. We no longer need to hunt or go looking for food. For many people, the reality is that their life actually requires them to spend much of the day sitting.
If you think about it, you probably spend much of your day in a chair. You eat all of your meals sitting, you sit in your car when driving to work, you get to work and sit at your desk and you come home and relax in your favorite chair. All of this sitting adds up, and it is not good for your body.
What is sitting too much doing to your body?
Sitting too much is bad for your health in a number of ways. One of the biggest problems with sitting too much is that it can lead to weight gain. When you spend a lot of time sitting down, your metabolism slows down. This can lead to problems with weight gain and a whole host of other troubling health conditions. People that sit too much are more likely to have high blood pressure, high blood sugar, an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and there is even an increased risk of some cancers that are associated with this type of weight gain.
As another point, sitting too much is bad for your body on a mechanical level. As I mentioned before, the body evolved to spend most of its time either standing or walking. Your spine and your other joints were not meant to spend hours every day in a seated position. This can throw the body out of balance. When you sit too much, this lack of balance can cause back pain, pain at the joints and it can put undue stress on some of your muscles.
What can you do?
A lot of people are going to think that they are fine because they exercise regularly, but that is only part of the answer. Regular exercise is good, but not getting enough exercise is not the only problem. The real issue is the amount of time spent sitting. Even if you exercise every morning, you are still spending hours at a time sitting.
The first recommendation is to break up these long periods of sitting with a little bit of motion. Try to get up every half hour to an hour to give your body a break and to get your blood moving a little. You don’t have to do anything too strenuous. Simply getting up and walking around for a few minutes will be enough.
You could also look for opportunities to walk more. You could park your car a little farther from the office, take the stairs instead of the elevator or walk to a colleague’s desk instead of calling them or sending an email. When you finish your lunch, don’t spend the rest of your break in a chair; use the remaining time as an opportunity to walk. Look at all of the activities in your life and think if there is any way that you could do them while standing or walking instead of sitting.