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Simple Steps to Combat the Heath Risks of Prolonged Sitting

18 May 2023

On average people sit for at least 7.7 hours per day, with some sitting for as many as 15 hours! These sedentary lifestyles have serious health consequences, contributing to an increased risk of obesity, back pain and diabetes. The good news, however, is that these health consequences can be overcome by making simple lifestyle changes

Today, we will discuss the key health risks associated with prolonged sitting, highlighting some easy and practical strategies to help combat these. These tips will keep you healthy, even if you spend a lot of time sitting each day.


What are the health risks of prolonged sitting?


There are a number of studies that emphasise the negative impact that prolonged sitting has on your health. The key issues that arise from prolonged sitting are poor posture and back pain. This is because using desks and chairs which do not provide adequate support will cause you to sit in unnatural ways.

A second consequence of prolonged sitting is an increased risk of obesity. If you sit at a desk for the majority of your day, you will burn fewer calories than people who stand or have more active jobs like waitressing or labouring. Inevitably, this leads to weight gain and in some cases obesity. Finally, the impact prolonged sitting has on our weight can lead to significant health issues such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. If you are concerned about the impact your sedentary lifestyle has on your health, then you're in the right place. Let's discuss our simple steps for combatting the health risks of prolonged sitting.


Simple Steps to Combat the Health Risks of Prolonged Sitting

Height-Adjustable Desk

The best way to combat the health risks associated with prolonged sitting is by getting rid of your standard (poorly-designed) desk. You should instead invest in a height-adjustable desk. Height-adjustable desks give you the power to alter the height of your workstation. This allows you to switch between standing and sitting throughout the day. Standing for part of your work day will increase your energy expenditure and improve your circulation. Thus, reducing your risk of developing diabetes or cardiovascular diseases.

Standing Desk

Unlike height-adjustable desks, standing desks cannot be adjusted between sitting and standing. This means that if you invest in a standing desk you will have to stand all day, instead of switching between the two positions.

In essence, a standing desk enables you to stand comfortably while working. Although research regarding the benefits of standing desks is in its infancy, using a standing workstation can have considerable health benefits. These include reducing the likelihood of developing persistent back pain. Standing while working has been found to help minimise disc compression, which can significantly contribute to back pain. Furthermore, standing can help improve blood flow and oxygenation to the back's muscles and tissues, which can help lessen inflammation and speed-up recovery.

Ergonomic Chair

Ergonomic chairs support you and adjust to fit your workspace. They have three key attributes:

● The first key attribute of ergonomic chairs is their versatility. Ergonomic chairs have various features which can be turned, twisted, and moved in any direction you like.

Comfort is another crucial attribute of ergonomic chairs. If you sit all day, you will become stiff and sore. By using human-centric design principles that replicate the body's movement and shape, ergonomic chairs alleviate back and neck pain.

● The final key attribute of an ergonomic chair is that they promote health. With curved seat pans and backrests, as well as lumbar and lower back support, ergonomic chairs encourage excellent posture. They also have height adjustments that keep your feet in the same place on the floor and adjustable armrests so that you stay aligned with the surface of your desk or keyboard.

Let's now talk about what makes a chair "ergonomic":

● To guarantee that your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are at a 90-degree angle, you can adjust the height of an ergonomic chair to your chosen level.

● You can adjust the lumbar support on an ergonomic chair to fit your lower back.

● You can adjust the armrests on an ergonomic chair to suit your comfort.

● You can make the seat the right depth for your body, ensuring that it supports your thighs and back, with the seat depth adjustment feature.

● The tilt and swivel feature on an ergonomic chair enables you to change the chair's position. This can ease back pain and relieve the strain on your spine.

Take Regular Breaks

Another way to combat the health risks of prolonged sitting is to take regular breaks throughout the day. A smart place to start is simply standing up once every hour and taking a few laps around the workplace. Alternatively, if you have the time, go outside and take a stroll. Start with a quick 10-minute stroll and build up to something longer, like a 30-minute walk.


Stretching

Are you suffering from back pain? Or perhaps neck pain? If yes - then it is likely you are already feeling the consequences of prolonged sitting. A great way to manage this pain is by introducing a stretching routine into your daily life. Here are a number of great stretches to mitigate these aches and pains:

● If you spend the entire day at your desk, your head is probably inclined forward, placing strain on your neck. A great stretch to combat this is the neck roll.

● Another great stretch is the cobra. To do this, you should lay on your stomach with your hands at chest level and your forearms on the floor. Draw your shoulders away from your ears, tuck the tailbone a little, and press up to elevate the ribs. You should feel a good stretch in your lower back.

● When you sit for long periods of time, your hips also tighten, which can strain your lower back. To relieve this you should try the hip flexor stretch.

Concluding Thoughts

To conclude, it is apparent that prolonged sitting has a number of health risks. Today, we have given you our top tips for mitigating these health risks including investing in a height-adjustable, standing desk and an ergonomic chair, taking frequent breaks and introducing a stretching routine. If you are at a loss for what desk or chair to purchase, check out FlexiSpot's website today!