Much ado has been made about the health risks of sitting, but are these worries well-founded? The short answer is that studies have found links between sitting for extended periods and serious illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Not all sitting related health concerns are this serious, but many are much more common.
The Greatest Health Risks of Sitting All Day Long
- Mental distress – Studies have shown that sitting for more than 6 hours a day can lead to symptoms of psychological distress, such as feeling tired, anxious, depressed, or restless. Even people who work out daily show these mental health effects.
- Poor circulation – Staying still for most your day, whatever position you may be in, leads to a decrease in circulation. Unfortunately, bad circulation can lead to an increased potential for blood clots. Yikes.
- Back pain – Sitting is known to cause the discs in your lower back to compress. This can, over the course of sitting at a desk every day for years, cause the discs to degenerate. Disc degeneration is one of the most common causes of lower back pain.
- Obesity and metabolic syndrome – Extended sitting is strongly correlated with excess body fat around the waist and high cholesterol levels. This goes for all forms of sitting, whether it’s in front of the television, steering wheel, or work desk.
- Cardiovascular disease – As noted, prolonged sitting can lead to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Specifically, sitting for more than four hours a day makes you 125 percent more at risk of symptoms of cardiovascular disease (such as chest pain) when compared to people who sit for less than 2 hours a day.
Stand up and stretch every thirty minutes or so. Not only will it feel great and wake you up, it will improve your longevity, make you a better biker, and help you to be an overall healthier, happier human.
Frederick M. Dudek is a cycling enthusiast and a San Diego personal injury attorney dedicated to bicycle safety and helping the victims of bicycle accidents.