Why sitting negatively impacts your health
Updated: Feb 12, 2023
What is this video telling you:
The longer you don’t move, the more agitated your body becomes. Brief periods of sitting help us recover from stress and exercise. In fact, the human body is built to move. Based on the structure of the human body, over 360 joints and approximately 700 skeletal muscles contribute to enabling fluid motion. Today’s lifestyle, people are becoming increasingly sedentary and not receiving regular amounts of physical activity.
Why is movement important?
1. our circulatory system relies on muscle contraction and lengthening to circulate properly throughout the body
2. the nervous system benefits from movement
3. muscle movement begins in the brain and plays a major role in regulating strength
4. our skin is elastic molding to our dynamic movement.
What happens when you don’t move?
With prolonged sitting with a curved back & hunched shoulders, the body’s spinal column, including joints, ligaments, and muscles are overworked and become overstretched and tight. This shape also compresses your chest cavity decreasing the amount of oxygen you breathe in & out, ultimately limiting the amount of oxygen in your blood and in your lungs.
Around the skeleton are nerves, arteries, veins, and muscles that form the soft-tissue layer. Sitting compresses and pressurizes the tissue and may cause numbness & swelling due to blockage of nerves, arteries, and veins preventing effective signalling and poor blood flow. Prolonged sitting temporarily deactivates the enzyme lipoprotein lipase found in the walls of blood capillaries that breaks down fat.
Stasis impacts the brain. Prolonged sitting reduces blood flow and the amount of oxygen to your brain, which are required for your brain to maintain alert. The result: poor concentration due to slowing down of brain activity.
Long-term effects of sitting
Recent studies have shown that prolonged sitting is linked heart disease & some cancers. In addition, sitting can contribute to diabetes, kidney and liver problems.
World-wide, sitting has caused ~9% of premature deaths.
When you need to sit, try switching your slouch for a more upright position. If you don’t need to sit, get up and stretch.
Find an activity you enjoy doing. Get up and move around…such a simple solution to better health.
Murat Dalkilinç. "Why Sitting is Bad For You," YouTube video, posted by "TedEd," March 5, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUEl8KrMz14