In modern society, many people spend the majority of their day sitting. We sit at work, at home, and while we travel between the two. However, there is rapidly accumulating evidence that too much sitting is a health risk that is additional to, and distinct from, too little exercise. This means that even if you go to the gym every day and spend an hour exercising, that does not necessarily counteract the risks associated with sitting for eight-plus hours per day.
Prolonged sitting has been linked with the following:
- Increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack
- Increased risk of death from any cause
- Poor mental health
- Type 2 Diabetes
Scientists are still working on understanding the exact mechanism(s) for the links between prolonged sitting and all the negative health consequences it seems to be associated with. One possible mechanism at play is that prolonged sitting has negative effects on metabolism. However, even without this knowledge, it seems to make sense to try and reduce our exposure to risky sitting whenever possible.
Here are a few strategies that might help to reduce your uninterrupted sitting time:
- Stand while talking on the phone or eating lunch.
- Take a short walk after meals.
- Try to schedule walking meetings rather than sitting in a conference room.
- If you work at a desk for long periods of time, try a standing desk, or improvise with a high table or counter.
- Set a timer for yourself to remind you to take breaks from sitting at work. For example, every 30 minutes take 1 minute to stand and stretch or walk to get a drink.
- When watching TV, use commercials to get out of your chair briefly.
If you are suffering from an injury related to prolonged sitting, contact us to make an appointment with one of our physiotherapists, chiropractors or registered massage therapists. Stay tuned for our next blog post on sitting hygiene and proper sitting posture to minimize the stress on your body.
Written By: Reanna Montopoli, FCAMPT Physiotherapist