1. Hips, Back and Neck Pain

Credits: Comprehensive Spine Institute

Prolonged sitting can lead to hips, back and neck pain. Sitting for too long causes your hip muscles to stiffen, which can lead to issue with your hip-joints. Excessive sitting can also cause problems with your neck and back, especially if you are not sitting correctly or you don’t use an ergonomic chair or desk station.   

 

2. Muscle Degeneration

Credits: Wellbeing Health

If you are sitting all day, you are not allowing your lower body muscles to hold you up. You need these muscles for stability and regular walking. Excessive sitting will lead to muscle atrophy, which is the degeneration or weakening of your muscles. Once your leg and glute muscles deteriorate, your body is at a higher risk of injury.

 

3. Weight Gain

Weight Gain

Credits: Ultra Care Pro

By sitting too long, your body cannot digest the fats and sugars in your body as efficiently as compared to moving your body and muscles once in a while.

Your body requires movement after you eat to digest your fats and sugars effectively. By sitting too long, your digestion process slows down, which leads to the possible retain of those fats and sugars in your body. Some people may experiencemetabolic syndrome - described as central obesity (waist circumference) which results in increased blood pressure and cholesterol. 

 

4. Diabetes

Credits: diabetes.co.uk

Research revealed that there is a positive association between sedentary behaviour and type 2 diabetes. It is reported that people who spend more time sitting have a112% higher risk of diabetes.  

 

5. Heart Disease

Credits: kritzerworkinjurylaw.com

Increases in sedentary behaviour have been associated with increased blood pressure among children, teenagers and adults.Studies show that people who sit for 10 hours or more a day had a 18% likelihood of having a heart attack or stroke than those who sit five or fewer hours everyday. 


6. Cancer

Credits: today.com

A new study discovered that excessive sitting at workincreases your risk of bowel cancer by 44%. Many research further reveals that sedentary behaviour or prolonged sitting may lead to different types of cancer, includinglung,colon anduterine cancers. 

 

7. Varicose veins

Varicose veins 

Credits: Free2Move

Sitting for long hours can cause pain and swelling in the legs. Many people can developvaricose veins, which is when the blood begins to pool in your legs. This will lead to possibly blood clots, resulting in serious issues such as deep vein thrombosis.

 

8. Deep vein thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) isthe formation of a blood clot in a vein deep in the body. It is said that this blood clot can travel to the heart and lungs, cutting off blood flow to other parts of the body. This can further cause shortness of breath, chest pain and even death. 

 

 

9. Mental Health

Credits: stylist.co.uk

There is a link between sitting and mental health which are found in new studies. People who spend75% of their leisure time seated are more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression, compared to people with a less sedentary lifestyle.  


10. Mortality

Studies have shown that there is astrong link between long periods of sitting and higher risk of death from all causes. It is evident people with excessive sitting suffer from many diseases as previously discussed, leading to an increased death rate. 

 

How can you minimise the risks from prolonged sitting? 

  • Improve your sitting posture

By adopting proper sitting posture, you can avoid neck, back and seat pain. Monitor your bad sitting habits and correct them. Ask your colleagues or someone near you to help you in correcting your sitting posture.

Proper Sitting

Credits:Work Fit

 

You can read more about your correct sitting posture here

 

 

  • Do stretches (and take mini breaks!)

 

Stretching is a vital part of healthy office life. Be sure to stretch when you take your breaks to save your spine. Here are some tips for stretching in an office

Stretch Pose

Credits:Design Taxi

 

  • Invest in a sit-stand desk

The popularity of an adjustable sit-stand desk is the result of the increasing concerns over prolonged sitting at work. You can invest in an adjustable sit-stand desk just so you can alternate between sitting and standing up. This can help you be more active and minimise the associated risks of excessive sitting.

Sit Stand Upright

Credits:Physiologic NYC

 

  • Invest in an ergonomic chair 

Last but not the least, invest in an ergonomic chair. If you work more than 8 hours per day and 38 hours per week in an administrative or clerical role, it is essential to facilitate your long hours of sitting with a high quality ergonomically designed office chair. You can improve your sitting posture and increase your productivity in the long run at the same time.

 

Our favourites are:

 Duro Office chair



 Koch Mesh Chair

 

 Legendary Mesh Gaming Chair

 

KNIGHT Heavy Duty Mesh Chair

 Hahndorf Mesh Office Chair

 

STOR High Back Office Chair


Takeaway

  • Prolonged sitting is detrimental to both your physical and mental health.
  • You can start minimising the associated health risks by taking breaks, doing stretches, and investing in a proper ergonomically designed chair and workstation. 



Sources:

American Cancer Society 2018, Sitting time linked to higher risk of death from all causes, American Cancer Society, <https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/sitting-time-linked-to-higher-risk-of-death-from-all-causes.html>.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2013, Australian Health Survey: Physical Activity, 2011-12. ABS Catalogue number 4364.0.55.004Australia. 

Back Intelligence 2021, Proper Sitting Posture at a Desk, Back Intelligence, <https://backintelligence.com/proper-sitting-posture-at-a-desk/>.

Better Health Vic 2021, The dangers of sitting: why sitting is the new smoking, Better Health Channel, <https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/the-dangers-of-sitting>. 

BMC Public Health 2013, ‘Reducing office workers’ sitting time: rationale and study design for theStand Up Victoria cluster randomized trial’, BMC Public Health,https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/1471-2458-13-1057.pdf

Direct Endoscopy n.d., Sitting down at work can increase your risk of bowel cancer by 44%, Direct Endoscopy <https://www.directendoscopy.com.au/blog/sitting-down-at-work-can-increase-your-risk-of-bowel-cancer-by-44/#:~:text=A%20new%20study%20published%20in,risk%20of%20developing%20bowel%20cancer.>. 

GI Alliance 2020, New Study Ties Prolonged Sitting To Increased Risk Of Colon Cancers, GI Alliance, <https://gialliance.com/new-study-ties-prolonged-sitting-to-increased-risk-of-colon-cancers/#:~:text=People%20who%20spent%20the%20most,increased%20risk%20of%20colon%20cancer.>.

Hallgren, M, Nguyen, TTD, Owen, N. et al. 2020, 'Associations of interruptions to leisure-time sedentary behaviour with symptoms of depression and anxiety', Transl Psychiatry, vol. 10, no. 128, DOI: 10.1038/s41398-020-0810-1.

Harvard Medical School 2013, Too much sitting linked to heart attack and stroke even if active, Harvard Medical School, <https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/too-much-sitting-linked-to-heart-attack-and-stroke-even-if-active>. 

John Hopkins Medicine n.d., Varicose Veins, John Hopkins Medicine, <https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/varicose-veins#:~:text=Sitting%20or%20standing%20for%20long,veins%20and%20damage%20the%20valves.>.

Mount Sinai 2012, Can I get a blood clot from sitting at my computer, Mount Sinai, <https://health.mountsinai.org/blog/can-i-get-a-blood-clot-from-sitting-at-my-computer/>.

Peeters, GMEE, Mishra GD, Dobson, AJ  & Brown, WJ 2014, ‘Health Care Costs Associated with Prolonged Sitting and Inactivity’, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, vol. 46, no. 3 46(3), pp. 265-72, DOI:10.1016/j.amepre.2013.11.014

Physio Logic, Why Do We Slouch? 5 Easy Tips for Practicing Better Posture, Physio Logic, <https://physiologicnyc.com/why-do-we-slouch/>. 

Sara Mulvanny 2019, Porfolio: Office Stretches, Sara Mulvanny, <http://www.saramulvanny.com/portfolio/office-stretches/>. 

Uffelen, JGZV, Wong, J, Chau, JY, Ploeg, HPVD, Riphagen, I, Gilson, ND, Burton, NW, Healy, GN, Thorp, AA, Clark, BK, Gardiner, PA, Dunstan, DW, Bauman, A,  Owen, N & Brown, WJ 2010, ‘Occupational Sitting and Health Risks: A Systematic Review’, vol. 39, no. 4, pp. 379-388, <https://www.ajpmonline.org/action/showPdf?pii=S0749-3797%2810%2900412-5>.  

Work Fit 2018, How to Sit Properly at Your Desk, Work Fit <https://www.work-fit.com/blog/how-to-sit-properly-at-your-desk>. 

World Health Organization 2020, ‘WHO guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour’, World Health Orgnization, <https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240015128>.