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Why Excessive Sitting Is Harmful to Your Health

Depending on your career and lifestyle, you could spend between 6-15 hours sitting every day. A recent study indicated that American adults spend an average of 6.4 hours a day sitting, while other research shows that office workers spend 15 hours or more sitting still every day.

Why does this matter? Well, a sedentary lifestyle contributes to many dangerous health conditions and increases your risk of premature death.

If you get to the gym regularly or spend active time outside on weekends, you might dismiss these stats as not applying to you, even if you spend your workday hunched over your desk. However, even if you’re physically active for an hour a day, it doesn’t make up for the harmful effects of spending hours every day resting on your behind.

The medical experts at Elite Integrative Medical in Beverly Hills, California, promote healthy lifestyle choices for long-term health and well-being. Let’s explore a few reasons to rethink how much time you spend parked on a chair or sofa. 

Sitting increases hunger

It might seem counterintuitive since sitting doesn’t use many calories, but sitting for long periods actually increases hunger. Vigorous exercise, on the other hand, inhibits your appetite, so you don’t feel hungry during or directly after your workout. 

Sitting increases pain

People rarely maintain proper posture while they’re sitting. Sitting already puts extra pressure on your lower spine. If you hunch over your workstation or slouch across your couch at home, your poor posture compounds that stress. Over time, poor spinal alignment leads to painful musculoskeletal problems, including herniated discs, trigger points, and muscle imbalance. 

Sitting increases depression

You might think it’s your job that’s getting to you, and it might be. However, sitting at your desk all day can harm your mental health. Research shows that spending more than six hours per workday sitting increases anxiety and depression. The good news? Even short bursts of exercise increase your mood with feel-good hormones. But more on that later.

Still not convinced to get up?

Sitting still all day increases your risk of all kinds of health problems. A sedentary lifestyle increases your risk for specific types of cancer, including colon cancer, endometrial cancer, and lung cancer.

Sitting increases your blood pressure and slows your metabolism. It’s been linked to hypertension, blood clots, heart attacks, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and the list goes on.  

You can do something to counteract the harm

Are you ready for the good news? Regular physical activity helps. Taking just a five-minute break every hour to get up and stroll around, undoes the harmful effects of sitting. This applies at work and home!

If, like 20% of Americans, you wear a fitness tracker, you probably have a little buzz to remind you to get up and move every hour. Alternatively, you could set an alarm to tell you to get up if you want to go old school. Take a walk to the water cooler, go see a colleague instead of emailing or Slacking them, go to the restroom that’s farthest away. Just get those steps in.

If you have chronic pain, whether it’s from sitting all day or something else, you can change your habits to change your life. Take your first step today by scheduling a consultation at Elite Integrative Medical.  Call our Beverly Hills office today or request an appointment online.

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