In the century of sitting, researchers are beginning to link a sedentary lifestyle to increased risks of heart disease, illness, and even death. These inactivity studies, while new, are showing that the amount of time you spend sitting in your daily life will have a direct link on how and when your health deteriorates. Sound scary? We agree.
Here are 5 more subtle signs that you sit too much, something that new research suggests we pay more attention to.
Chronic back pain is experienced by many who spend more than half of their day seated. Compared to standing, sitting puts much more stress on your muscles and spine discs. When you sit too long, you usually end up slouching, which only intensifies the pressure to spinal ligaments and discs. Don’t ignore back pain; experts say that you should take a break from sitting every 30 to 60 minutes or when you feel back pain. Take a lap around the office, grab a glass of water, and stretch.
Getting regular headaches could be an indication that you are sitting too much. A Cervicogenic Headache is a headache that is the result of tension and pressure in the cervical spine. The upper back and neck area has many pain-sensitive regions that can become tense and produce what feels like a headache when strained.
Unlike migraines, Cervicogenic Headaches come with a stiff neck, pain around the eyes and a throbbing head. If you find yourself getting these regularly, they could be a direct result of sitting and slouching.
A 2014 study found that breaking up workplace sitting time with intermittent standing bouts reduced levels of fatigue and slightly boosted productivity. How can exertion compared to desk work actually help you to feel more awake? It all comes down to what we call your mental marathon. The brain’s job is to respond to stimuli, and working on your computer requires a lot of brain power with very little stimuli. When we are active, walking or moving, the brain is still working, but requires less of that brain power that we would need if we were say, writing out our business plan. That’s why it’s important to give your brain a break from it’s mental marathon, just like if you were running a real one. And similar to physical exertion, that break will help you to refocus and come back feeling more rested and ready.
Varicose veins are enlarged and twisted veins that can occur anywhere on the body. But, the primary location for them to appear is the legs. Chair-sitting not only puts a substantial stress on your spine discs, it can also cause strain in the veins in your legs. If you find varicose veins on your legs, you should talk to your doctor.
A sedentary lifestyle also takes an emotional toll. Middle-aged women who sat more than 7 hours
a day had a 47 per cent higher risk for depressive symptoms than women who sat less than 4 hours a day, according to an Australian study involving 8,950 women. This speaks to the importance of an active lifestyle in helping to promote mental wellness, too. While sitting is an inevitability in most of our work-lives, one can help to lower their risk of related diseases if they can balance their time in the chair with proper exercise, breaks and nutrition.