Wednesday 11 November 2020

What Happens To Your Body When You Sit All Day

 Sitting for a short amount of time can be a welcomed break if you have an active lifestyle. But sitting all day long can take a toll on many aspects of your health. Even if we have the best intentions and aim to be physically active, the nature of our job, schooling, or other obligation may make having a physically active lifestyle challenging. And since 2020 has brought us lockdowns and work-from-home situations, sitting in front of our TV, phone, and computer screens seems to be more commonplace than ever before.

Even before COVID graced us with its presence, the number of people who are sedentary has increased worldwide, especially due to the nature of their job. And according to the CDC, that is not great news, as sitting all day and being sedentary is linked to some undesirable outcomes that are hard to reverse.

So, what exactly can happen to your body when you are sitting in front of your computer or plopped on your couch all day long? Below are 10 things that your body may experience if you don't find yourself getting off of your seat or couch throughout the day. 


You May Gain Weight

sitting on couch

It is simple math; if you sit all day, you don't burn as many calories as if you are moving. If you don't burn more calories than what you consume, you can gain weight. Therefore, if you are sitting all day long, you may notice the numbers on the scale slowly trend up, especially if you are not practicing healthy dietary habits.


You May Experience Back or Shoulder Pain

back pain sitting

Especially if you have bad posture, sitting all day can result in back or shoulder pain. Slouching over your computer screen or leaning in an awkward position all day long can make your body feel things you simply don't want it to feel.


You May Feel A Negative Effect On Your Mental Health

tired man

Feeling down? Cozying up on the couch and watching Netflix reruns all day every day may sound appealing, but it may actually make you feel worse instead of better in the long run. Since increases in sedentary behavior is associated with poorer mental health, stepping away from the remote could be a good thing for your well-being.


You May Have Trouble Sleeping

Lack of sleep

Certain people may have trouble catching enough zzz's if they are sitting all day. Although quality sleep can be affected by many factors, including use of screens, stress, and alcohol use, lounging all day may not do you any favors in the snoozing department.


You May Be At-Risk For Developing Heart Disease

sitting on floor

Cardiovascular exercise helps your heart muscles stay strong. So, sitting or lying down for a long period of time every day does not allow for the heart to get the strength training that it needs. And just as you would get weaker biceps if you quit doing your free weight curls, you can have a weaker heart if you are not moving your body. People who have the most sedentary time compared with the least was associated with a 147% increase in the relative risk of cardiovascular events and a 90% increase in the risk of cardiovascular mortality according to data published in Diabetologica.


You May Have Trouble Conceiving a Baby

doctor form

Both men and women may experience fertility challenges if they sit all day long. For men specifically, a sedentary job doubled the risk of high levels of sperm DNA damage.


You May Develop Hemorrhoids

woman in pain sitting

Spending too much time sitting on your backside can cause some major discomfort, and even lead to the development of some unwanted swelling in your rectum—AKA hemorrhoids.

While some experts suggest that a sedentary lifestyle seems to coincide with hemorrhoid development, some data suggests that sedentary behaviors are not a risk factor. But for many people, simply running the risk of developing hemorrhoids can make a person get off of their behind for a bit.


You May Be At Higher Risk Of Developing Diabetes


Sitting for a large part of the day can put your body at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Specifically, greater sedentary time has been linked to a 112% increase in the relative risk of developing this condition when compared with those who were not as sedentary.


If You Are Pregnant, You May Be At Higher Risk Of Developing Gestational Diabetes

Female doctor is checking pregnant woman with stethoscope

In one study, pregnant women who sat at home for over 2 hours per day were associated with a significantly increased risk of gestational diabetes. Moving your body during pregnancy can also help you maintain a healthy weight and may help you combat negative emotions.


You May Have An Increased Risk Of Cancer Death

Man watching a sports game on tv while sitting on a couch eating junk snacks and drinking a beer

Simply replacing sitting time with 30 minutes of activity appears to be associated with a lower risk of cancer death according to data published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In this case, sitting less and moving more can quite literally be a matter of life or death.  

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