Do you spend your weekdays sat at a desk? Sitting all day is now thought to be a one-way ticket to a ton of serious health problems, with some experts even proclaiming that ‘sitting is the new smoking’.

The number of people working at a desk has increased DRASTICALLY in the last few decades, and the effects it has had on the human body have been very visible. The obesity rate has increased, health problems have multiplied, and overall fitness has declined.

But how is sitting down causing health problems? Read on to find out how the hours you spend sitting at your desk aren’t just making you less healthy, but they may actually shorten your life!

How Sitting is Shortening Your Life

Here are just a few of the ways that sitting down all day long is causing health problems:

1. Slows metabolismWhen you sit down, your muscles use little to no energy. This tells your body that you don’t need to burn as many calories throughout the day, and it slows down in order to conserve energy (as it is created to do). This means that your metabolism is naturally slower, making it harder for you to burn as many calories as you consume. Sedentary muscles also release far less lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme designed to hydrolyze triglycerides (fatty acids).

2. Places stress on jointsThe human body is NOT meant to be sitting down for long periods at a time. The angle of the neck, back, knees, and feet can actually put a strain on your joints, leading to skeletomuscular problems.

3. Reduces insulin sensitivity — Studies have found that sitting down for long periods of time can cause your body to become less responsive to insulin, the hormone that controls your blood sugar–and thereby your appetite. This increases not only your risk of hunger pangs and cravings, but also Type 2 Diabetes.

4. Increases chance of heart diseaseResearchers discovered that sitting down for more than two hours each day have up to 125% greater chance of heart problems than those who do not. Those who sit more than five hours per day have TWICE the chance of developing heart problems–such as heart failure.

5. Shortens lifespan —  An Australian study found that every hour of sitting increased the risk of mortality by 11%. Another study discovered that Americans could increase their lifespan by as much as two or three years just by sitting fewer than three hours of per day!

6. Increases cancer risk  Sitting for a long time can increase your risk of breast, colon, lung, ovarian, prostate, and endometrial cancer. Why the two are related is still not known, but there is an established correlation between sitting and cancer.

What Can You Do To Prevent This?

So, you see that sitting down for extended periods of time can be seriously harmful to your health, but what can you do about it?

  • Standing desk — A standing desk is simply a desk that has a work surface that is a little higher up. You can buy one ready made, or get your tools out and make your own like we did!
  • Get up more — Stand and walk every hour for five to ten minutes, and spend your lunch break walking around outside or hitting the gym.
  • Use a Walkstation — Basically a treadmill with a desk, the Walkstation is the perfect solution for office workers who want to sit for fewer hours.
  • Be more active during off hours — You may not be able to sit less at work, but you can avoid sitting down after work by finding activities that take you outdoors.
  • Sit properly — Use the proper ergonomic devices to help you maintain the right posture, thereby reducing wear and tear on your body.

Yes, you may not be able to avoid sitting down, but you don’t need to let your body suffer for it! Do what you can to avoid declining health as a result of your extended periods of sitting by following the tips above.