The Hidden Dangers of Sitting

185; Kid sitting.Humans were not made for a sedentary life. In fact, it was only a short time ago that most Americans tended their crops and did more manual labor around their homes and in their jobs. Back then, we didn’t have the medical advances we have now, but the need for them was also much smaller. Fast-forward to today and a large percentage of Americans are obese and suffering from health problems. So what happened? Our sitting time has increased significantly!

Now you may be thinking, “How can something as simple as sitting be so detrimental to my health?” The act of sitting is not the problem, it is the fact that most of us sit 9.3 hours a day, and that is on top of sleeping an average of 7-8 hours a day. Sitting that much increases our mortality rate by 40% while also increasing our chances of becoming obese.

There are several other problems with sitting too much, as well. When we first sit down, our calorie-burning ability drops to burning one calorie per minute. The electrical activity in the legs turn off, and the enzymes that help break down fat drop 90%. After two hours of sitting, our good cholesterol drops 20%.

While we know that there is not too much you can do about your desk job, there are still some ways to keep yourself healthy. The first is to avoid sitting down after your work is done. This means no vegging out in front of the television or computer when you get home. Here are some other ways to combat the negative effects of sitting for long periods of time:

  • Interrupt sitting as frequently as possible. Aim to get up every twenty minutes and take a bathroom break or just some simple form of exercise or stretching.
  • Sitting exerts practically no energy. Therefore it is better to spend some time standing or pacing during tasks that don’t need you to sit, such as watching TV, talking on the phone, etc.
  • Aim to get more than thirty minutes of exercise a day. It doesn’t have to be hard or intense exercise, just get yourself moving for more than a half an hour.
  • Sit at a 135-degree angle. You already know that poor posture will wreak havoc on your back. Sitting at a 135-degree angle is the best position for your back. You will most likely need a special office chair to tilt back at this angle.

In today’s day and age, sitting for long periods of time is hard to avoid. However, for the best health, you have to learn how to get up and move. You don’t have to quit your desk job, but you don’t have to stay seated for eight hours a day either.


Story Credit, Image Credit: 185; Kid sitting. by Sara V. Used under Creative Commons license.

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.