If you didn’t know yet, sitting is the new smoking. Living and maintaining a sedentary lifestyle is dangerous to your health as it gives you a higher chance of developing everything from type 2 diabetes to heart disease. You may also become overweight and experience mental health problems.
For you, sitting might seem unavoidable, especially if you’re an employee who is in front of a computer all day. However, take this as a warning. The reason why people call sitting the “new smoking” is that chronic smokers usually don’t start noticing the effect of such a dangerous habit on their life until they age. The same thing applies to a sedentary lifestyle. Its damaging effects come on gradually.
Human bodies are meant to move around. Just look at how we’re made—you have over 360 joints and 700 muscles to move your skeleton. Humans are designed to be active!
What Does Sitting Do To Your Body?
Your body hates it when you sit for prolonged hours. Here are just some things sitting does to your body:
Back And Shoulders
Try to be more aware of your body as you sit or stand up. You might notice the way it naturally falls into a slump after three minutes of sitting down.
As you stay in this position, your joints may be subject to wear and tear. This puts tension on your back muscles that stretch themselves to accommodate your slouched posture.
The heart works more effectively when standing up and moving around. Compared to standing up, sitting down burns 21% fewer calories.
Long periods of sitting also lead to the deactivation of an enzyme that produces good cholesterol. If it continues to be deactivated, it can cause the blood vessels of your heart to be blocked.
In comparison to standing, sitting down reduces the space for your lungs to expand when you breathe. Shallow breathing means less oxygen is gets into your system, and with limited oxygen, you’re bound to have less energy.
Sitting for too long can lead the muscles in your abdomen, leg, and hip areas to waste away. If you continue to sit for an even longer amount of time, those muscles will eventually become useless.
Losing muscle, especially in your lower body, can result in weight gain. In addition, as you grow older, muscle loss can have a negative effect on your strength, making you prone to falls and affecting your ability to live independently.
Your posture while sitting down can limit the blood and oxygen going into your brain. This will eventually slow down your brain function.
Sitting won’t just attack your physical health but also have a severe impact on your mental well-being. Your brain tends to become sluggish when you remain in a sitting position.
Remaining in a seated position causes your stomach to be compressed, slowing down your digestion. This can lead to bloating, constipation, and heartburn. Your bowel also tends to function less efficiently when you’re sitting.
What You Can Do About It
As you can see, your body’s health and well-being take the fall when you sit for too long. Of course, not everyone can avoid being in a stagnant sitting position.
From walking around a bit to shifting your weight to having an Epsom salt bath, here are some ways to minimize stiffness if you’ve been in front of your computer for hours:
Move More While Working
You don’t need to leave your desk to do a few stretches here and there. If you don’t want your coworkers seeing you stretch, you can also just opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Try walking over to your colleagues instead of emailing them. When you’re on a lunch break, get some fresh air, and enjoy a short walk outside. You can spend a few minutes in your yard if you’re working from home.
Mind Your Posture
Knowing how to sit properly will lessen the effects of bad posture on your entire body. The best sitting position is achieved by following these steps:
- Keep your feet flat on the floor.
- Avoid crossing your ankles or your knees.
- Sit up straight and mind your shoulders. They should be relaxed, not rounded or hunched.
- Sit back in your chair and let it support your weight.
If you’re working in front of a computer, the screen should be at eye level so you can avoid craning your neck forward.
Stay Active Outside Of Work
Exercising is a foolproof way to minimize the stiffness you feel after sitting for hours on end. However, if you find yourself unable to go to the gym, try to put more activity into your day by doing the following:
- Leave the car at home. Walk or cycle to your destination instead.
- Get off the bus one stop early then walk your way to your destination.
- Do at-home workouts that don’t require the use of equipment.
- Park further away from where you are going and then walk.
Take A Soothing Warm Bath
If your body is still stiff after doing all of the above, maybe all you need is some well-deserved “me time." It’s time to indulge in a relaxing Epsom salt bath.
Give yourself some love with a nice, long soak. Try Better Bath Better Body’s naturally calming Joints Soak Bath Salt, which is made from Epsom salt and infused with pure essential oils. Adding this blend to your warm bath water will allow you to unwind after a long day of working and sitting down. Place your order for Epsom salt online today.