Recent research indicates that prolonged periods of sitting without a break can negatively impact your health. People who work at desks are more at risk of developing chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease,
Prolonged sitting will cause long-term muscle and bone discomfort, especially in the neck and back. The postures maintained by people who work at desks are harmful to health, especially if you do little exercise or do not meet the recommended levels. Doing some physical activity is important to counteract the effects.
If you think standing is the solution, standing for prolonged periods of time can damage your muscles and bones. Symptoms may include pain and discomfort in the lower back and lower extremities: hips, knees, ankles and feet. You may also experience muscle fatigue, leg swelling or varicose veins.
People who stand for more than 40 minutes have the most symptoms. However, once you have any condition you may experience discomfort again even if you rest. The recommendation is to reduce or interrupt your sitting time.
Vary the time between sitting and standing.
Pausing the time you spend sitting by standing or moving around helps blood circulation, improves metabolism, heart and mental health, and increases life expectancy. Simply exchanging one hour of sitting per day for one hour of standing or vice versa leads to improvements in fat and cholesterol levels.
A Columbia University study indicated that walking 5 minutes for every 30 minutes improves blood sugar and blood pressure levels. In addition, they found that it can reduce 58% of blood sugar spikes after eating.
The study’s lead author, Keith Diaz, told Medical News Today that muscles need to be active and contract to regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Therefore, regular short walks help reactivate them to perform their function.
The researchers indicated that exercise reduced up to 5 mmHg in blood pressure readings compared to not walking. Sitting posture creates bends in the blood vessels in the legs, which changes blood flow and can lead to increases in blood pressure. These benefits are not only seen in the short term as it puts less pressure on the heart in the long run and may prevent a heart attack.
The most important thing is to be active
The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that at least 2 million deaths a year are related to physical inactivity. It is one of the 10 leading causes of death and disability in the world, due to the fact that between 60% and 85% of the world’s population lead sedentary lifestyles.
Physical activity guidelines for Americans state that adults should get 150 minutes of physical activity. Specifically, they state that moderate-intensity exercise each week combined with 2 days of strength training is ideal.
In summary, experts agree that sitting or standing for more than 40 minutes is harmful. It is not enough just to change posture; to reduce damage, it is important to engage in some form of physical activity. Spending just five minutes stretching your legs, taking short walks or including a moderate exercise routine in your daily routine will help you counteract the negative effects of these postures.