Why your body and brain can’t stand a full day of sitting
Everyone knows the pleasure of sitting down after a long time on your feet. But just like eating three meals of Halloween candy everyday would play some nasty tricks on your body, sitting should be considered a treat. Here’s how settling into that chair all day will end up biting you in the backside in the short, medium and long term.
It’s 10 AM on Tuesday. You’ve just sat through a 90-minute meeting about the big project. Things are bad and starting to look worse. The future of the company slouches heavy on your shoulders like a tipsy walrus. You leave the conference room, roll up your sleeves and walk to your desk ready to turn this day around. The desk chair calls your name. It reminds you that your task is tall and your burden great. It’s a small temptation, but it’s worth fighting.
Short term – You’re less productive
Sitting doesn’t only relax the muscles. After just an hour at rest, every process in your body begins to slow down including circulation. This is why you’ve possibly fallen asleep while seated but probably never while standing. Unless you’re a horse (and if you are a horse, please let us know in the comments). Though most office work isn’t very physical, slower circulation can reduce mental activity as well. This makes the big project suddenly seem more complicated and draining than it already is.
Before long, you’ll crave sleep’s gentle embrace. You might try to fight it with another cup of coffee, but there’s a much simpler antidote. The discomfort you feel from standing is not just a sign of energy-stimulating activity; it also helps you focus. Rather than slouch through the hours, you naturally want to complete small tasks so you can reward yourself with some well-deserved rest. By only sitting in small doses, you quite literally stand up to your challenges.
Medium term – You change your body’s physical composition
Just as working out on a routine basis can strengthen your body, extended periods of sitting can compound deterioration. Reduced blood flow leads to less energy even after you drag yourself out of your chair. This leads to less activity for muscles that are already starved for stimulation. The underused muscles are then less capable of properly supporting your skeletal structure, which sets the table for brittle bones and spinal stress. Little by little, the comfort of your chair causes more and more bodily dysfunction. This can lead to persistent pain or worse…
Long term – You increase the chance of serious disease
When you rest for too long, so do the fat-burning enzymes that produce HDL or “good cholesterol”. By now, you’ve probably noticed excessive sitting reduces a number of healthy processes in the body. The only things that tend to increase are waist size, blood pressure and insulin resistance. As those get higher, so does the chance of developing heart disease, diabetes or even certain types of cancer. Your chair may be comfortable now, but it’s not worth knowing the comfort of a hospital bed later.
Don’t let your butt write checks the rest of your body can’t cash. An adjustable standing desk, like Readydesk, makes it easy to maintain an active work posture and a rewarding rest interval. Stay on top of your work. Stay healthy. Stay alive.