Is sitting at a desk all day wrecking your body?
It should come as no surprise that sitting all day is bad for your body and overall wellness. We’ve long understood that living a sedentary lifestyle increases health risks, and many of us already associate familiar aches and pains with a long day at the office, hunched over and staring at a computer screen. We know sitting is bad, but what exactly is going on in your body as all that inactivity builds up?
Many office workers report pain in their necks and backs as a result of their daily sitting routine. Each day our bodies perform a delicate balancing act to remain upright and moving about. This balance and alignment begins at the top. Whether you’re aware of it or not, you probably spend a good portion of the day craning your neck forward to better view the computer screen. Holding the neck at unnatural angles for long periods of time strains the vertebrae, and forces imbalances in other parts of the body. When your neck is out of alignment, it brings with it the shoulders, and eventually the back muscles. Not only does this posture result in uncomfortable shoulders and backs; it can cause permanent imbalances, inflexibility in the spine, and damage to the discs between vertebrae and the collagen around tendons and ligaments.
Hip flexibility also suffers from a lack of movement, as the hip flexor muscles don’t get the opportunity to properly extend as often as they should. Tight hips limit your flexibility and range of motion, and can contribute to the aches and pains you may already be experiencing in your back.
Discomfort and bodily deterioration occur almost anywhere you can think of when you spend all day in a sedentary position. Blood circulation begins to slow shortly after inactivity begins, which affects everything from your heart to your legs. Sitting for long periods of time causes fluid to pool in the legs, which results in uncomfortable, swollen ankles, varicose veins, and the risk of dangerous blood clots.
You can work to combat these effects by exercising regularly, avoiding time spent on the couch after a day spent in the chair, and moving around as often as possible during the work day. Taking a moment to stand each half hour and do some light stretching will keep the body awake and help to alleviate your aches and pains.