Health Side Effects of Having a Sedentary Job
It is widely reported that having an inactive lifestyle can lead to a slew of health issues, especially on a long-term level. But while many people assume this pertains solely to physical activity as a day-today hobby, this also can also apply to having a sedentary job. Sitting behind a desk or behind the wheel for the better part of your day can cause extreme health issues, many of which you wouldn’t expect to be connected to your job.
If you have a job or career that is centered around an office, cubicle or computer, then it probably is rare that you get to move around and be active at any given point during the day. Having a sedentary job can affect your mind, body and health in a variety of ways, which is why it is important to get up and move as often as possible.
Perhaps the most obvious result of a sedentary job is the fact that you are more prone to gain weight in the long term versus with a more active career. Spending the bulk of your day sitting in an office chair without much movement otherwise can lead to more weight gain than most of us care to endure.
This is especially true when we consume large lunches that are high in caloric content. If you’re sitting all day, drinking coffee laden with cream and sugar, or sipping sodas or sugary juices, then indulging at lunch in a nearby restaurant, the weight will start to accumulate. For those with a more sedentary career, try mindfully watching what you consume during the day, and take a quick break every so often to stand and stretch or walk around the room.
High Blood Pressure
Any amount of extended sitting can become a problem, but especially if that is how you are spending the bulk of your days. Research has been linked from a sedentary job to an increase in blood pressure over time. Sitting overall, for prolonged periods of time can affect your blood pressure, as there is little-to-no movement associated keeping the heart pumping at a premium. When you sit, your heart slows and it gets no exercise to keep it in top shape. This means that when you replace opportunities to move with sitting all day, your heart is not getting the exercise it needs, which can result in high blood pressure. Ways that you can incorporate movement at a sedentary job, which can have a direct impact on your blood pressure, includes:
- Standing while talking on the phone.
- Investing in a headset to move around more.
- Walking with colleagues when meetings are held.
- Exercising during lunch.
- Setting an alarm to move every 30 minutes.Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes
What having diabetes means is that you have elevated levels of blood sugar or blood glucose. Having Type 2 Diabetes means that your body does not make insulin well, which can help regulate the levels of blood sugar. Sitting for long periods of time have been recently linked to Type 2 Diabetes, as it slows down the metabolism and including insulin resistance.
The more amount of time you spend sitting, and the longer you remain unmoved at a desk during the day, the slower your metabolism may be. This can also become an issue when you are drinking less water and more sodas or sugary drinks. Replace your time sitting with standing or participate in a few leg exercises at your desk to break up the monotony that comes from prolonged sitting.
Oftentimes, when stuck inside all day while the sun is shining brightly and the fresh air cannot be inhaled due to the glass window separating your office and the outside world, depression can sink in. Spending time indoors at a sedentary day job ultimately means you have less time outside, less time to enjoy many different aspects of life that can bring about a sense of happiness and fulfillment. Depression and anxiety can form when you move infrequently, when you are stuck under fluorescent or artificial light and when there are few opportunities to enjoy a bit of fresh air.
Great posture is critical to maintaining health and avoiding certain issues that can accompany having poor posture. When you’re sitting at a desk for hours upon hours every day, movement is minimal except for some shifting in an uncomfortable chair. Oftentimes, when one becomes uncomfortable sitting for long periods of time, he or she tends to shift in a way that is not conducive to proper posture.
Excessive sitting can have adverse effects with the spine, which can lead to long term back problems and discomfort throughout the day. It is hard to maintain proper posture all day long, which leads many to slouch in front of a computer or desk. Poor posture, in conjunction with sitting for prolonged periods of time, can be directly linked to hypertension in adults. A few tips to avoid poor posture at work include:
- Opting for a standing desk.
- Taking small breaks.
- Sitting with both feet on the floor.
- Never sitting with legs crossed.
- Making sure you back is flat against the chair.
Reduced Life Expectancy
According to The Mayo Clinic, it has been noted that anyone who sits behind a desk or behind the wheel for long periods of time has a higher risk of dying than those who have active periods of work. The study had shown that for data reported from 1 million people, a minimum of 60 to 75 minutes of moderately intense physical activity a day countered any of the effects that too much sitting caused.
However, those who sit for more than eight hours a day without the exercise to counteract the sitting, had a much higher risk of dying. Too much sitting overall has been stated to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
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