If you were reading any of the work and wellness blogs a few years back, then it was not uncommon to be told that sitting for work was the ‘silent killer’ and represented a massive level of danger that needed to be addressed immediately. That case, a lot found, was overstated. However, that doesn’t mean that a sedentary job that sees you sitting a lot is good for your health, either. There are serious risks associated, and steps you can take to mitigate them.
The chronic health risks
While the act of sitting is not, inherently, very dangerous, it is the sedentary lifestyle that can come with jobs that require you to sit in one place all day that can be a major concern. It greatly increases your chances of developing chronic health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, all of which can lead to heart failure. It also increases the risk of diabetes, which is a condition that requires you to actively manage it all your life once you’re diagnosed.
The sedentary lifestyle that is often associated with sitting down for long periods of time is also going to be bad for your joints and your back. This might be due to the fact that you’re not changing positions for long periods of time, but also because you’re more likely to gain weight if you sit still all day. The ergonomics of your work setup also contribute to this. A lot of people are not using the right kind of back support they need while sitting and working at a desk. Good, ergonomic furniture can help and a sit-stand desk will work even better if you’re able to use one.
There are some changes that can happen to your body as a result of sitting down too much that might not be immediately threatening or painful, but might still be a concern. For instance, it’s believed that a lot of pressure or friction, which can result from sitting a lot, may be a cause of a pilonidal sinus, which is a small hole in the skin, typically at the top of the space between your buttocks. While not always a concern, this hole can get infected, so many people seek treatment for it regardless.
One of the more immediate dangers of sitting too long is deep vein thrombosis. This is a blood clot in the leg that’s often associated with spending too much time sitting on flights or in car risks. You can use things like compression stockings to mitigate the risk of these clots developing, but the single best way to treat them is to remember to get up, take a break, and walk around, even if it’s only for five minutes every hour. The idea of a blood clot forming should get you antsy to get out of your chair right now.
Sitting down for your work does not necessarily need to be a huge concern, but it does come with risks that need to be taken seriously. Don’t get complacent with your health.
Photo by Timur Weber: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-sitting-and-working-on-laptop-8560728/