The Impact of Prolonged Sitting on Your Health

Prolonged periods of sitting have been associated with a range of health issues, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease.  In addition, they can contribute to the development of muscle tension, back pain and neck pain.

When we sit for extended periods of time, our bodies enters a state of rest and digest.  This results in a reduction of blood flow to your muscles and a slow down of your heart rate, which can potentially lead to several complications, including:

  • Back pain: Prolonged sitting can put strain on your back muscles and ligaments, often resulting in varying degrees of back pain.
  • Neck pain: Similarly to back pain, extended sitting can strain the muscles and ligaments in your neck, causing neck pain and discomfort.
  • Muscles tension: The act of sitting for long durations can cause tension to accumulate in back, shoulder and neck muscles.
  • Obesity: Research has indicated that individuals who spend significant amounts of time sitting are at a higher risk of obesity. This is largely due to the fact that sitting uses fewer calories compared to standing or being active.
  • Diabetes: Long periods of sitting are linked to an increased risk of diabetes due to its potential to induce insulin resistance in the body.
  • Heart disease: Prolonged sitting time increases the possibility of heart disease. It can lead to raised cholesterol levels and increased blood pressure, which are contributing factors to heart-related issues.

To mitigate the adverse effects of extended periods of sitting, it is crucial to include breaks from sitting every 20 to 30 minutes.  It is recommended that we incorporate movement of 30 minutes each day. For people with jobs that involve sitting for most of the day, integrating some movement and standing every hour is advisable.

What can you do to help counteract the effects of prolonged sitting?

  • Adjust your desk correctly: Adjust your computer screen to eye level to avoid hunching over your desk.
  • Check your chair: Choose a chair that provides the right support and promotes proper posture while you’re sitting.
  • Schedule breaks: Stand up regularly and move around every 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Stretch your muscles: Include a brief stretching session while you’re standing every hour to alleviate muscle tension.
  • Take regular walks: If your job means you’re sitting for long periods of time, aim to take short walks every hour to improve proper circulation.

By employing these strategies, we can effectively reduce the adverse effects of prolonged sitting, whether at work or at home, and enhance our overall wellbeing.

Manual therapy can help improve posture and reduce the negative effects of prolonged sitting, our massage therapists and sports therapists can help you.

If you are experiencing back pain or any muscular pain caused by sitting, would you like to speak to one of our massage therapists to find out how they can help? Click FREE ASSESSMENT to book your free 15 minute assessment with one of our massage therapists.