For years, people sat for 8 + hours a day without batting an eyelash. Today, people across the globe are analyzing their schedules to see if they are at risk of developing health concerns and even diseases as a result of sitting for too long. This movement to stand more stems from an abundance of new studies emphasizing the effects prolonged sitting has on the body and overall wellbeing. And for most people, this has raised some red flags. After all, there are millions of people who sit at a desk every day for work, and if you’re one of them, you’re likely thinking about whether or not you need to switch to a sit stand desk. The short answer? Yes, everyone should be using a sit stand desk but to give you a little more substance, here’s why…
What Happens When You Sit All Day Long
A Bad Back Follows
Many experts say that sitting at a desk for prolonged periods is one of the worst things you can do for your back, as it destroys your posture. This results in serious back pains and can even lead to complicated back conditions, such as premature degeneration, chronic pain, compression on the spine discs – and that’s only to name a few.
If you aren’t using a sit stand desk right now, this is something to consider because sitting for too long today can cost you years of health in the future. So, add some heart-opening stretches into your day and shop our collection of sit stand desks to get you back up and on your feet more often.
Your Shoulders and Neck Stiffen
In addition to back pain, sitting for most of the day can lead to stiff shoulders and neck, which is often followed with discomfort and in some cases, pain. This is a common problem today, as most people have computers on their desks which causes the body to hunch over to use the device. Stretches will help with controlling the discomfort and poor posture problems, but opting to stand more often with a sit stand desk is definitely a solution that tackles the root cause of the problem.
You Begin to Gain Weight and Increase The Risk of Metabolic Syndrome
There’s no denying that the less you move, the fewer calories your body burns. Each movement you make causes your muscles to release molecules that help your body process and use fats and sugars as needed. And when you’re sitting down for most of the day, the delivery of these molecules weakens. This results in your body doing less of what it needs to do to burn off fats and sugars, resulting in weight gain. Some studies have even linked sitting for too long to increasing one’s risk of metabolic syndrome, even if you exercise regularly.
Your Risk of Developing Diabetes Increases
Weight gain isn’t the only risk that comes from prolonged periods of sitting. Studies have shown that people who spend the most time sitting also have a whopping 112% increased risk of developing diabetes. This is the result of the body having an increased insulin resistance which is the forerunner for diabetes.
Loss of Muscle and Strength in the Legs and Glutes
As the saying goes, if you don’t use them, you lose them and this is exactly what happens when you sit for prolonged periods. Unlike standing, your body doesn’t require your lower body muscles to hold you up; your legs simply dangle towards the floor. Add on the 8 + hours a day that this occurs, and you naturally begin to lose muscle and strength in the legs and glutes.
However, that isn’t even the worst of problems. Without strong legs and glutes, you have less strength to hold you up when you are on your feet, whether it’s walking, running, dancing, standing, etc. As a result, you are less stable which increases your risk of injury.
Your Hip Flexors Tighten
Hip Flexors are often dubbed as being the hub of the body, as they attach to the spine, pelvis and femur, making them essential for a vast array of movements – from walking to bending, from kicking to twisting, and everything in between. Unfortunately, they are prone to becoming shortened or tightened, which can cause an abundance of discomfort, potential tears and the inability to move freely without pain. Add in sitting all day, and you are even more likely to experienced tightened or shortened hip flexors and all the complications that come with it.
You Increase Your Risk of Developing Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, and approximately 1 in every 4 deaths in the United States are caused by heart disease. Studies also found that sitting could potentially lead to cardiovascular disease, with some experts saying that people who sit more have a 147% higher risk of suffering from a stroke or heart attack. Needless to say, it’s time to start standing.
Your Chances of Developing Certain Types of Cancer Increases
Yes, you read that right! Some studies have revealed that sitting for long periods of the day can increase your risk of cancers, such as uterine, colon and lung cancers. While the reasons behind the increased risk are clear, studies do see a pattern in people who spend the majority of time sitting down.
Increased Risk of Anxiety and Depression
It isn’t just your physical health that takes the brunt of the impact when you sit all day at a desk. One study showed that, of the people who sit the most, they experienced a higher risk of experiencing anxiety and depression. This is likely due to the lack of movement (fitness) your body needs to maintain optimal mental health which is particularly why all other options, such as treadmill desks, standing desks and sit stand desks are great. You get your exercise in while you work, while also keeping your anxiety and depression levels at bay.
But what can you do about all of these health concerns if your job requires you to sit at a desk? It’s simple. Swap out the tradition desk for a sit stand desk that allows you to sit and stand as you choose. They’re motorized desks that give you full freedom to move as needed, so if you aren’t prepared to stand for a full 8 hours, don’t. Sit as needed and slowly increase how often you stand and certainly, you’ll start to feel better.
Now, if you’re really eager to go big or go home with your health and fitness, treadmill desks are a wonderful option that allows you to get your fitness in as you work.
If you are hoping your workplace makes these changes to your work environment, send them a copy of this article and let them know about the risks that they may not know anything about.
Firgelli Automations offers a great line of sit stand desks, standing desks, motorized desks, you name it. Browse our collection and improve your health and fitness simply by sitting less.