Health Risks of Prolonged Sitting

Why Prolonged Sitting is Dangerous for Our Health

Healthcare News

Individuals who predominantly sit are at higher risk of early mortality and mortality from cardiovascular disease compared to those who are active during the day.

Time and again, it has been proven that sitting is the new smoking. Like puffing away on cigarettes, spending too much time parked in one place impacts our well-being.

Adding some movement to our day can help counteract the deadly effects of sedentary lifestyles. According to the latest study, prolonged sitting increases the risk of premature mortality.

The world is currently facing challenges posed by increasing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Amid these health issues, health issues caused by sedentary lifestyles are increasing. Therefore, the World Health Organization has issued guidelines on increasing physical activity and recommended reducing sedentary behaviours.

Health issues that prolonged sitting can cause

Prolonged sitting for long hours is considered harmful to our health. It may cause several health issues:

  • Obesity

  • Excess body fat around the waist

  • Increased blood pressure

  • Unhealthy cholesterol levels

  • High Blood Sugar Levels

  • Tight Hips

  • Leg Clots

  • Back Ailments

  • Osteoporosis

Excessive sitting is also associated with a high risk of cancer. A simple solution to reduce the risk from prolonged sitting is walking – which may work as a wonder drug.

Why must one stop prolonged sitting?

Less is known about the specific association of prolonged occupational sitting with health, especially in the context of low physical activity engagement.

While prolonged sitting is a well-recognized risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and premature death, the researchers of a recent study have suggested that there is a direct link between prolonged sitting and our health, particularly in settings with low levels of physical activity.

Therefore, one must cut down on long hours of sitting during the day or increase daily physical activity. This can help lower the increased risks of dying due to complications arising from prolonged sitting.

Tips to reduce risk from prolonged sitting

People who sit for long hours during the day should aim for 15-30 minutes of physical activity daily to reduce their elevated risk of health complications associated with prolonged sitting. In addition, they may follow the below tips to avoid complications arising from prolonged sitting.

  • One must ensure to practice the right posture while sitting.

  • People must use adjustable desks for intermittent standing to avoid prolonged sitting.

  • One must ensure a comfortable chair with proper ergonomics.

  • One must opt for the stairs instead of the lift or elevator, even if it’s just for a portion of the journey.

  • During breaks, one must stand up, move around, or hydrate.

  • Setting reminders using devices like phones or fitness trackers every 30 minutes to prompt breaks is advisable.

  • One must incorporate walking or standing while talking on the phone or attending video calls.

  • If going for a walk is not possible, spot walking is the only option. Yoga or light aerobics can also be helpful.

The bottom line is that a sedentary lifestyle can impact our overall well-being in multiple facets. Therefore, one must ensure a healthy and active lifestyle. Additionally, those suffering from back or neck pain must undergo physiotherapy to reduce the pain and strengthen the muscles.

FAQ on prolonged sitting

What are the risks of prolonged sitting?

Sitting or lying down for too long may increase the risk of chronic health problems, such as diabetes, abdominal fat, heart disease, and some cancers. Prolonged sitting can also be bad for our mental health.

How can prolonged sitting be prevented?

  • Take a short break from sitting every 30 minutes.

  • Stand while taking a call

  • One may try a standing desk — or a high table.

  • Walk with your colleagues for meetings rather than sitting in a conference room.

Why is it wrong to sit too long?

Excessive sitting is thought to slow metabolism, affecting our ability to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, metabolize fat, and weaken muscles and bones. 

How can I stop sitting at home?

Four ways to reduce the effects of prolonged sitting may include:

  1. If you are physically able, try to sit less overall.

  2. Sit the right way

  3. Break up you’re sitting. When you do sit, break up long stretches of sitting as frequently as you can

  4. Exercise regularly