The average person sits for six to eight hours per day according to a recent study, which has been shown to have dangerous effects on your health. Research has found that going for a run after work a few times a week is not enough to reduce the negative effects of prolonged sitting. Those leading sedentary lifestyles have been shown to be more at risk of a number of health issues, including being overweight, developing type 2 diabetes or heart disease, and experiencing depression and anxiety.
Humans are built to stand upright. Our heart works more effectively this way. Sitting for long periods can lead to atrophy of the leg, gluteal and back muscles. Quite simply if you don’t use them, you lose them. These muscles are important for walking and stabilising you, therefore if they are not functioning effectively your chance of injury increases. Sitting for long periods, especially if you combine it with poor postures can lead to compression of the intervertebral discs, leading to premature degeneration and therefore back and neck pain.
Some easy ways to incorporate more activity into your day are walking/cycling to work, get off the bus a stop early, park further away from wherever you ae going, use the stairs, stand/walk around while on the phone at work, set a timer to get up from your desk regularly or try using a standing desk.
Recent studies have found that sitting is the second highest cause of cancer, behind tobacco smoking. The impact of movement, even leisurely movement can be profound. While there is not yet enough data to recommended exact time limits of chair potato-ing, it’s wise to adopt the mantra of “sit less, move more”.