25% of people in the United States follow sedentary lifestyles. This means they are physically inactive. Sitting all day may not sound like the worst thing in the world.
It allows your body to rest. But what many people don't know is that sitting too much can be very dangerous. This is especially true in the long run.
But what are the risks of following a sedentary lifestyle? What can you do to change it? Keep reading and learn more about the risks of inactivity below.
Why Are People More Sedentary than Before?
Before we jump into the risks of sitting all day, let's explore why the sedentary lifestyle is more popular than ever. More people are spending more time sitting than ever before. The sedentary lifestyle has become the average American lifestyle.
This has become the norm in the recent decade or two. But why? Everything has become easier than before.
Today, we have machines and digital technology to do everything for us. Most of our work is on the computer. This compels people to spend hours at their desks without moving.
This is true whether you work at home or in an office.
The only activity most people do when working is clicking on the mouse on their computer. The sedentary lifestyle goes beyond a person's workday. When a person is done working, they may get some food.
They do this by getting into their car and sitting some more. Few people in America walk to their desired locations. The only walking that some people do is inside their homes.
They might only take a few steps between the bed and the refrigerator, and their desk. Because everything is so easy to access, there is no reason to spend extra energy walking or moving. Even common house appliances minimize our movement.
Coffee makers, laundry machines, and computers do the work for us while we sit around. While this makes everything less stressful for us, it doesn't do our bodies any good. Minimizing movement will soon catch up with you.
This is especially true as you get older. In the past, a sedentary lifestyle was far less common. It was more common for people to walk to work or school.
People would walk with their friends to get to the nearest cafe or restaurant. Workdays were more laborious since most things weren't automated yet. Fast food wasn't an option yet either.
Instead of sitting in their car going through a drive-through window, many people cooked food at home. While the labor of cooking a meal may not seem very impressive, these simple movements can still keep the body healthy. This is true with doing chores around the house, walking through a grocery store, and so on.
As long as you keep your body moving, that count towards keeping your body healthy. When you barely move, your body will experience an array of negative effects. If you spend most of your time sitting, you may already be familiar with some of these effects.
What Are the Risks of Sitting All Day?
The most common risk of sitting all day is obesity. The United States is known to have one of the highest rates of obesity in the world. When you sit all day and rarely move, your body won't burn many calories.
It will preserve those calories until you eat your next meal. What many people don't know is that when they are sedentary, they don't need to eat very much. While 2,000 calories per day remain the average daily intake, many people don't need to eat this much.
This is because sedentary people don't burn nearly this many calories per day. They might only burn a fraction of that. When you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight.
Most people consume far more calories than they burn. Sitting around burns only a few calories per hour. When you eat a meal that consists of several hundred calories, you will be several hundred calories over what you need.
Being obese may not sound that bad. You might not be pleased with the extra fat, but does it have any consequences? Diabetes is the most common consequence of being obese.
Excess fat tissue can interfere with the pancreas's ability to produce insulin. If your body cannot produce enough insulin, it cannot keep your blood sugar levels balanced. This makes it dangerous to consume food with excess sugar.
Besides candy and desserts, foods like bread, pasta, potatoes, and rice are all rich in sugar. They consist of carbohydrates which are complex sugars. If you are diabetic and consume too much sugar, you could become very ill.
What You Need to Know
Some people enter a diabetic coma and sometimes experience fatal consequences. Another risk of sitting around all day involves your cardiovascular health. Your cardiovascular system is like a very advanced plumbing system.
Your blood flows through blood vessels which act like pipes. As long as blood moves through those vessels smoothly and consistently, there shouldn't be any problems. If the blood slows down, plaque and fat pile up in the vessels.
This slows down your blood flow even more. As your vessels continue to get clogged, something bad will soon happen. This usually leads to heart attacks and strokes.
Heart disease can also occur. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States (and the world). Making your heart race is a way of exercising it.
If your heart never picks up speed, it will get weak. This shortens your life span drastically. What you eat also contributes to poor heart health.
If you often eat foods that are rich in fat and sodium, this will not keep your heart healthy.
Instead, it will contribute to the fat and plaque in your blood. If a piece of plaque travels to your heart or brain, this could kill you. Sitting all the time also causes back pain, increases your risk of dementia, and causes varicose veins.
But what can you do to combat all this?
How to Combat a Sedentary Lifestyle
Suppose that you have a job that allows you to work on your computer at home. This job requires you to sit at your computer and work most of the day. You wouldn't do much more than sit, do some typing, and click on your mouse.
If that's your job, is there anything you can do about it? Or do you have no choice but to sit there all day? There are several things you can do to fix this problem.
Getting a standing desk is one of the best options. A standing desk is nothing more than a desk that allows you to stand instead of sit. This may not sound very impressive, but it has more benefits than you might expect.
A standing desk gives you more room to move around. Instead of standing in place, you can shift your weight and move your body more freely. The very act of standing burns more calories than sitting.
This is because your muscles are more active when you're standing. While it may not feel like it, your muscles work hard and strengthen themselves while you're standing. Standing also promotes better blood flow through your body.
Your blood vessels and muscles have to contract to send blood from the bottom of your body to the top. Due to this improved blood flow, using a standing desk is better for your heart. It does a better job of keeping your blood vessels clear and healthy.
Standing also makes your heart pump harder. When you sit for long periods, your heart will remain very calm and slow. If it is always like this, your heart will weaken over the years.
What to Know
A weak heart is never a good thing. By standing and moving in place with a standing desk, you can prevent this from happening. One of the other benefits of standing desk options is that they can reduce obesity.
Standing is technically a form of exercise. Even though it is not very intense, standing burns more calories than sitting. The more calories you burn, the easier it is for you to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight.
This is especially true if you are careful about what you eat too. As long as you maintain a healthy weight, diabetes won't be such a risk for you. Due to the lack of excess fat in your body, your pancreas shouldn't have any trouble producing all the insulin it needs.
As long as there is available insulin, your blood sugar levels will remain at healthy levels. A standing desk can reduce back pain too. Back pain is one of the major complaints people have when sitting all day.
This is because your back muscles become weak and strained when sitting for long periods. If you stand and move around with a standing desk, this will be less of an issue.
You can even position a standing desk to align with your height.
You won't need to slouch or crane your neck to work at your desk. You can put it in whatever position is most comfortable for you. This can reduce neck pain too.
Other Ways to Combat a Sedentary Lifestyle
Using a standing desk is a big step in prioritizing your health. The simple act of standing can improve your health in many ways. But to prioritize your health, you will need to do more than stand for a few hours.
There are other simple ways you can combat a sedentary lifestyle. Taking occasional breaks is very important. Many people forget to take breaks because they are too engrossed in their work.
But a break only takes up 10 or 20 minutes of your time. This short period should not get in the way of your work. During your break, you can exercise your body in various ways.
Doing some stretches is a great way to keep your body healthy. Even if you don't have a lot of time, stretches are fast and easy. Bending down and touching your toes is a great way to stretch the muscles in your legs and back.
This move is important for spine health as well.
What Else Should You Consider?
Keeping your hips in place while swiveling your upper body back and forth can loosen the muscles in your upper body. Taking a brisk walk around the area is good for promoting blood flow.
It can get your heart racing as well. Fitting this into a quick break can keep your body energized and in shape. When you aren't working, proper exercise is important.
Going for long walks and working out at the gym or at home are great places to start. Instead of driving someplace, try walking.
Even something as simple as yoga can help keep your body in shape. Watching what you eat is important too.
Avoiding fatty foods will go a long way. This will help you stave off obesity and prioritize your heart health. Eating antioxidant-rich foods like fruits and vegetables can keep your body working like a well-oiled machine.
How to Stop Sitting All Day
Sitting all day is not good for your body. It can increase your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart problems, and more. Exercising and using a standing desk are great ways to prioritize your health.
If you're in the market for a standing desk, look no further than our vast selection.