A lot of my friends have a corporate 9-5 job. Most of them spend close to nine hours a day glued to their desks. It’s an extremely sedentary lifestyle. We haven’t even taken into consideration the fact that we are all lying down for 8-9 hours every day.
Let’s do some quick math. That’s 16-17 hours out of 24 without any physical activity for your body. Even when we’re at home, we spend at least another hour or two watching our favorite shows on TV or maybe reading a book. If that is similar to your daily routine, your body is inactive for 75% of the day!
I know it’s comfortable, but we gotta face it — it’s a life of laziness. All your muscles are at rest, but that’s not what our bodies were designed for. Sitting down for long periods of time can actually harm various organs of your body.
What Happens To Your Muscles When You Sit For Too Long?
Our body easily adapts to the stimulus that it is introduced to. So, when you go out to exercise, you are placing them in a condition where they are adapting themselves to stretch. In the beginning when you are exercising, you might feel some pain in the muscles. That’s a good sign.
Your muscles are stretching and adapting. To accommodate your increased activity level, they improve their neuromuscular, metabolic, and biomechanical machinery. To meet the increased demand, oxygen and glucose are more efficiently transported to your cells. In this scenario, your muscles contract and relax just the way they are supposed to function.
However, if you are not active, your muscles take that as a cue to become inactive. Along with lesser efficient oxygen and glucose supply to your cells, the metabolism of lipids will also slow down. Other changes include shortening of hip flexors and protrusion of neck and upper spine. Your hamstrings and glutes may also become weak over time.
And that’s not all. Your heart, brain, pancreas can all get affected by too much inactivity. Here are all the problems that can be caused by a sedentary lifestyle:
- Permanent damage to spinal joints and discs causing back ache
- Less toned hamstrings, quad, and calves
- Poor blood circulation
- Varicose vein, deep vein thrombosis, swollen ankles (in extreme cases)
- Blockage of the blood vessels of heart
- Slows down brain function
- Limited amount of oxygen absorbed by lungs
- Increased production of insulin which may lead to diabetes
- Poor digestion
- Poor concentration
The risks associated with sitting for too long may be intangible for you now, but they can seriously affect your health later on in life. But that doesn’t mean you have to quit your job if you want to stay fit. The good news is that you can fix this problem by just making simple changes in your lifestyle.
First step towards a change is to acknowledge the problem. Next, become more aware of your own posture while you’re working. Try to make simple changes in your environment — get ergonomic furniture and set up your computer at the right angle for your eyes.
Every one hour, take a short break and move a little. As and when possible, try to incorporate some simple desk exercises during your day to keep yourself more active. We’ll talk in length about posture and desk workouts in the next few articles. Until then, take small steps to maintain better health by taking small steps to ditch your sedentary lifestyle.
If you have any suggestions, questions or queries related to this topic, please post them in the comments section. I’ll be happy to hear your views on it and answer all your questions!