Research has shown that sitting for prolonged periods without taking even a short moving break has negative effects on your health. Sitting not only impacts on your mobility but also on your risk of various diseases including obesity, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Sitting for too long relaxes your largest muscles. When muscles relax, they do not absorb much glucose from your blood enhancing your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Being in pain makes it even harder to get up and get moving. However, sitting for too long will increase pain by tightening the hips, knees, and leg muscles. This can affect your mobility and balance, making everyday activities such as walking even harder. Tight hamstrings and hips also contribute to back pain.
Sitting for more than eight hours per day with no physical activity increases your risk of dying similar to those who smoke or suffer from obesity. However, breaking up the sitting time and undertaking 60-75 minutes of moderate activity each day can actually counter the effects of sitting too much.
If you want to decrease the amount of sitting time in your day, consider the following actions:
- Take a standing or short walking break every 30 minutes
- Stand while talking on the phone or watching TV
- Use a standing desk at work
- Walk with your colleagues for meetings instead of sitting in a boardroom
- Walk over to a colleague to talk instead of calling/emailing them