From its inception in 1890 till the present, more than 4400 lives have taken their last breaths on the electric chair. The office chair on the other hand, I can guarantee, has claimed more lives since its introduction to modern society in 1849.
Sitting for long periods of time can be hazardous to your health, even if you are a regularly active. Some are even going as far as to call sitting the new smoking. Here are 10 dangers of too much sitting (1- 8+ hours) with no active breaks:
Danger #1: Increased risk of mind disorders : depression, anxiety, bipolar
Too much sitting does way more harm than good for our overall mental well-being and productivity at work, reports Dr. Mercola. Yet it is amazing how many Americans spend hours at the office desk, for the sake of getting more done.
When we sit for long periods of time, blood flow to the brain is significantly affected. No wonder why the research actually finds that productivity decreases and the risk of anxiety and depression increase with too much sitting.
Danger #2: Chronic Pain: mind, spirit, body, soul
I don’t know about you, but being in pain sucks. Pain is our body’s natural way of alerting us to pay attention to our bodies in order to give it what it needs, but chronic pain, whether mental and physical is dangerous to the system and we should do all in our power to prevent them.
80% of Americans will suffer from chronic pain during their lifetime. Take control and do all you can to not be part of this statistic.
It starts with prevention.
Danger #3 Insomnia: Attack of the office Zombie
Unless you are training for the Zombie Apocalypse of 2034, you should be getting overall good sleep. Sleep is essential for living—literally. A very poplar study in the late 80s found that 11-32 days of total sleep deprivation resulted in death for lab rats.
I’m glad few studies have been done mimicking this because 10 lab rats lost their lives so we can learn the importance of sleep deprivation. To the 10 noble rat warriors, I salute you for giving up your precious sleep and lives, so that my bonehead brethren and I can learn from you.
After a long day’s of work, our body needs sleep to reenergize. Too much sitting robs the body of its precious sleep and make us insomniacs! The researchers found that long hours spent sitting at work, staring at the computer screens contributed to the obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) They conclude that the:
“degree of fluid displacement overnight was in turn related to the amount of time spent sitting, suggesting that a sedentary way of life may predispose to OSA independently of any effect of adiposity.”
It’s simple, if you want better sleep, consider taking active breaks during the day so your legs won’t swell up with fluid while you are trying to sleep tonight. I don’t know about you but the only reason i want to be sleep deprived in the night is if it involves and another preson, if you know what i mean.
Danger #4 Immobility: arthritis, muscle atrophy, injury
The dangerous effects of prolonged sitting do not just happen overnight. They result from compounded minutes, hours, weeks, months, and years of too much sitting. Like a child, they will grow whichever way you nurture them.
Too much sitting will lead to immobility. I cannot help but be reminded of how much awareness was sparked by the ALS community and what they did to educate us on this debilitating neurodegenerative disorder, which has nothing to do with too much sitting, but just for a second, imagine not being able to move your body. We become what we do the most. If you spend the majority of your day sitting and being immobile, you are inviting injury, muscle loss, arthritis and even immobility.
Being a traininer is great, I am always on the go. But now that I am working mor from home, much of my times spent writing. on the hour reminds with my smart phone make it easy for me to take an active break every 50 munites to stretch, do squats, push ups, you name it. I challagem you to do the same at your office. If you are worried about workplace stigma, make it a fun team building experience and invite your colleagues to also participate. You all can do it where ever are near or far.
Danger #5: Metabolic syndrome: obesity, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels
Prolonged sitting can lead to metabolic syndrome, which is just a fancy way of saying: sitting too much gives us unnecessary belly fat, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and freakish cholesterol and triglyceride (blood fat) levels.
Our body’s ability to break down fat drops significantly when we are sitting, insulin production drops and electrical activity in the legs shutdown, putting us at a high risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer and even death.
Thanks for your time, now go take an active break and come back for the next 5 dangers of too much sitting. You do not want to miss them.
***Cindy Ugochi Njoku is a San Francisco based fitness trainer and expert, and the founder of Active Break, an organization with the mission of inspiring people to live happier and healthier, one active break at a time. If you found this information valuable, share and support our mission by casting a vote in the Chase Mission Street Grants.