Sitting and working for long hours is an inevitable daily routine for many, but is this good for our health? According to multiple studies, those who work in white-collar/office jobs where they have to sit and work for many hours are at a high risk of developing various health problems. The risk of premature death is also prevalent in people who sit extra long hours and follow a sedentary (inactive) lifestyle, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The chronic and major problems that may arise from prolonged sitting include:

  • Muscle fatigue. A fixed sitting position for hours deprives the oxygen and blood flow from reaching the muscles and the muscles become strained and fatigued. Muscles are also more prone to damage and injuries when this happens on a regular basis. 
  • Obesity. Being in a sedentary position such as sitting or lying down, requires less energy expenditure and therefore burns fewer calories in return as opposed to moving or standing. One particular study has found that obese people tend to sit on average more than 2 hours daily than lean people. It appears the more someone sits daily, the more likely they will gain weight. 
  • Diabetes. According to the Diabetes Organisation in the UK, sitting for extra long periods can slow down the metabolic process and affect insulin resistance in the body, which may lead to Diabetes type II. Researchers point out that limiting the time spent on sitting may prevent the onset of diabetes. 
  • Hypertension. Sitting for long hours has been linked to elevated blood pressure and the risk of developing a stroke. On the contrary, taking breaks from sitting and doing mild physical activity has been linked to better cardiovascular health.
  • Heart Disease. Excessive sitting and being idle for more than 10 hours slows down blood circulation and may heighten the risk of heart disease, stroke and death (from an episode).

When you sit for long hours, blood flow slows down and your body switches to a low calorie-burning mode. If you are having a poor posture as a result of not sitting correctly, it may lead to a host of other issues as well e.g. bone and muscle damage and fibromyalgia at a later age. Seek immediate treatment from healthcare and wellness platforms such as if you think you are experiencing “Office Syndrome”—muscle tightness and pain typically found in office workers who spend a lot of time in front of a laptop screen.

If you spend a great deal of our day sitting, you should do some activities to prevent all these problems. Some changes and things you can do is to:

  • Take a break every half an hour, stretching yourself or fixing your position. Ideally, take small 3-minute breaks to move and walk around the office. 
  • Use a standing or convertible desk that allows you to move freely around.
  • Try to exercise for at least 15 minutes every day, when you have free time. Just 15 minutes of mild exercise such as walking, jogging, or doing house chores can reduce the negative impact of excessive sitting. 
  • Examine your posture. Poor posture and issues from prolonged sitting go hand in hand. If you struggle to maintain a good upper body posture, try wearing a correcting belt or bra that you’ll be wearing under your clothes to help balance it and add extra support.