If you work in an office, chances are you’re sitting at your desk for a better part of the day. Though you wouldn’t think a desk job would cause too many workplace injuries, the truth is that it happens more often than not. Sitting for long periods of time without movement can wreak havoc on your body. The trouble is that many office workers don’t even realize it until it’s too late.
Knowing what can come from sitting for long periods of time can help you to stay proactive about your health and prevent serious complications. Below are a few of the most common workplace health issues related to sitting too long:
1. Weakened Leg Muscles
When you’re not using your leg muscles often they can become very weak. Not applying weight to your legs for a better part of the day can lead to what is known as muscle atrophy (weakening of the muscles). Weak muscles ultimately make it easier for your body to become injured and it will become more challenging to hold your body weight.
2. Weight Gain
Another issue with sitting for long periods of time is weight gain. Moving periodically gives your muscles the opportunity to release lipoprotein lipase molecules, which are necessary to process the fats and sugars stored in the body.
If you’ve encountered several hemorrhoids lately, it could be the direct result of sitting for long periods of time. Hemorrhoids occur when the veins found in the rectum are swollen. Though there are several reasons this happens; sitting too long and being overweight are at the top of the list. While you can simply treat them with over the counter natural hemorrhoid products, you still want to make changes to your lifestyle, such as walking more and losing weight.
4. Hip and Back Problems
Your hips and back can take a real beating from sitting all day. When you sit your hip flexors shorten, which can cause pain when walking. For those who have poor posture, your back can begin to hurt from all the pressure applied throughout the day. Failure to stretch can result in chronic pain.
5. Anxiety and Depression
Movement and exercise release endorphins, which are necessary for improving the mood. When you’re sitting for seven to eight hours a day, your endorphins are lowered which gives way for mental health concerns like depression or anxiety to kick in. Studies have proven that getting up and walking around every 20 to 30 minutes can greatly improve your mental state of being.
6. Heart Disease
Sitting can even have a grave impact on your heart. Studies have found that people who sit for more than 23 hours in a week are at greater risk of developing some form of heart disease. Other studies have supported findings that those who sit for long periods of time have an increased chance of having a heart attack or stroke.
With obesity being one of the number one risk factors for diabetes, it’s no wonder that sitting for long periods of time could increase your chances of developing the disease. When sitting for long periods of time, enzymes found in the muscles begin to change. This in turn leads to increased blood sugar levels and lower insulin tolerance levels which can result in type 2 diabetes.
8. Blood Clots (DVT)
For office workers who don’t get up and move around, the possibility of developing a clot is higher. Deep vein thrombosis (a form of blood clot) is most commonly located in the legs. While clotting is a natural occurrence in the body, when it develops for no reason (meaning no cut or injury) it could be life threatening. Clots can easily break off and travel to other parts of the body causing serious damage along the way.
It may be easy to assume that you’re safe if you’re working behind a desk all day. However, this is far from the truth. Aside from talking with your employer about ergonomics and comfortable office furniture, it is very important that you get active. Taking a walk around the office, going for a stroll during lunch, and even hopping up to socialize with coworkers on occasion can decrease your chances of developing serious health issues in the near future.