Human bodies are not built to live a sedentary lifestyle. Our bodies were designed for regular movement. On average, American adults spend 9 to 10 hours every day sitting. Living a sedentary lifestyle can have drastic consequences on our mental and physical health, making us more at risk for conditions such as diabetes and obesity. Here are some consequences and warning signs that you need to get up and move:
Back and Hip Pain
Moving around gives our vertebrae room to breathe, expand, and contract. Movement allows our spine to soak up nutrients that are essential for our health. Sitting for an extended period can cause our vertebrae to be pressed together unevenly, causing collagen to harden around our tendons and ligaments, which in turn causes back pain. The added stress onto the back has a direct relationship with our hips. Our hips are then put under so much pressure that we experience hip pain as well.
The occupational health services at Immediate Medical Care on NASA Parkway can give you a proper back evaluation to determine your back health.
Almost instinctively, people tend to crank their neck forward towards the screen and keyboard while sitting at a desk or even looking down towards a cell phone. This consistent movement of the vertebrae can lead to neck issues, including a strained neck. These strains can eventually lead to permanent disproportions.
Although it has not been proven, carpal tunnel syndrome could be a result of extended sitting and keyboard use. Any repetitive or forceful movement of the hands or wrists can cause carpal tunnel. Whether you are working with small instruments, typing, knitting, sanding, or using something repetitively, you could be at risk.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Sitting for a long period of time decreases circulation to your legs and feet, causing fluids to pool in the legs. Issues caused by this range from swollen ankles and varicose veins to dangerous blood clots like deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Inactivity also causes your leg bones to become weaker, increasing the chance to develop osteoporosis.
What Can You Do?
- Experts recommend stretching daily to help prevent a wide range of conditions and to get the blood flowing throughout the body.
- Get up and walk around the office or outside on your break to get your blood flowing
- Sitting on a yoga ball or wobbly object to help strengthen the core
- Asking your supervisor for a standing desk so that you can alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day
- Paying attention to your posture throughout the day, are you slumping as the day goes on? Is your back straight?