Though we might not realise, we as people tend to spend most of our days sitting down for prolonged periods of time. Some of us spend all day sitting down at work, to then go home and sit down once again to relax. We are now starting to question, what are the dangers of sitting too much? Well, it turns out that all this sitting doesn’t do a whole lot for our health, in fact, sitting down for extended periods of time can actually have a negative effect.
This infographic will take you through the effects sitting down for long periods of time can have on your body and health, and answer the question what are the dangers of sitting too much? It will also provide you with tips and advice on how to counter the effects of prolonged sitting in a workplace environment.
What are the Dangers of Sitting too much?
‘To Sit or to Stand?’ That is the question
Public Health England recommends
That we stand with light activity for at least 2 hours during our working day, building eventually to a total of 4 hours. That is why sit/stand desks have become more popular.
Did you know that?
Just two hours standing can burn an additional 100 calories – that’s about the equivalent of one chocolate digestive biscuit! It’s also about 50% more calories than sitting.
Many adults sit for more than 7 (some up to 10) hours a day. Sedentary behaviour is the term given to sitting for 4+ hours a day. Some health professionals warn this is the equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes. Sedentary behaviour can increase risks to people of all shapes and sizes, and not just those who are obese.
Take the calculator test:
Journey to work (by car, bus or train) + sitting at a workstation + journey back home (by car, bus or train) + sitting down for mealtime + watching TV + sleeping – it all adds up.
A study carried out by researchers from Loughborough University in 2011 compared the shortest time spent sedentary with the longest time spent sedentary. For the longest time, there was:
- 112% increase in the risk of DIABETES
- 147% INCREASE in cardiovascular events
- 49% increase in death due to any cause
- 90% increase in death due to cardiovascular events
The NHS Warns
“Studies have linked excessive sitting with being overweight and obese, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and early death. Sitting for long periods is thought to slow the metabolism, which a ects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat.”
If your job involves prolonged sitting
The message is not saying ‘don’t sit at all’. It is however recommended that you stand, and move around every 30 minutes for at least 5 minutes. Alternate between sitting and standing, rather than staying in any one posture. It’s important to ask yourself, what are the dangers of sitting too much?
Change posture regularly and stand as tall (upright) as you can – ideally keeping shoulders and back aligned and don’t slouch. Avoid locking your knees (bend them slightly if you can). Wear comfortable and safe shoes for the workplace. Walk around at set intervals rather than standing still. If your job involves standing, consider anti-fatigue mats.
Don’t stand too still
There are risks associated with standing too. Regular standing in static positions a ects our circulatory system and can diminish elasticity in the soft tissues, as well as damage to joints. Veins are subjected to increased pressure. Regular standing for long periods
of time can lead to a whole range of health conditions such as varicose veins, lower limb MSDs and back pain, as well as foot problems such as corns and bunions.
Did you know that?
Anti-fatigue mats can help blood circulation. As the feet subtly adapt to the cushioned surface, blood circulation is stimulated as the foot and calf muscles expand and contract, activating the venous pump, which pushes blood back up to the heart. They help to reduce the onset of pain and tiredness. A survey conducted in 2015 by COBA Europe revealed that 75% of respondents found anti-fatigue matting to have a positive effect on the wellbeing of staff .
Health experts around the world are advising us to stand more, and sit less. Standing at work is important for health, but it’s vital that we do it safely and comfortably to reduce the risk of associated musculoskeletal strains and injuries (MSDs).
Strike the right balance, for improved health
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We hope that you have found this infographic useful, and feel more informed about the dangers of sitting too much. Find related blogs on the topic of sitting and standing.