Why you need to sit less and move more
The positive impact of movement for our health, even in small intervals, can be profound. The more you move, the better your muscle tone, posture, metabolism, and mental health – all good reasons to get up off your chair and make a change!
Below we explain how sitting for too long affects your body and what you can do to get more movement in your day – even if you are a office worker who spends the majority of the time at your desk.
Humans were designed to stand upright. Our cardiovascular system and intestines work more efficiently when you’re standing up. As such, if you stand or move around regularly during the day, you have a lower risk of chronic disease compared to those glued to their desk for 8+ hours.
Those who have a sedentary lifestyle where physical activity is not part of their daily routine, have a higher chance of developing type II diabetes, cancer, obesity, heart disease, stroke, depression, and anxiety.
Sitting for long periods of time affects your gluteal (bum muscles)
Sitting for prolonged periods of time can lead to atrophy (shrinkage) of your large leg and gluteal muscle. These muscles are important for walking, running, and stabilising your body. If you are inactive, these muscles are more susceptible to injury from strains when you return to or increase exercise intensity.
If you spend a lot of time sitting, your digestion and metabolism (capacity to burn calories from food) is reduced, where over time, weight gain is inevitable. Research suggests you need at least 60-75 minutes per day of moderate to intense physical activity to combat the dangers of sitting still.
Hips and back
Similar to the way in which your gluteal muscles work, your hip and lower back muscles are also unable to support your body, if you sit for extended periods of time. Sitting causes your hip flexor muscles to shorten, potentially leading to hip joint issues. The lower back can also be affected by poor posture, leading to compression of the discs, and negatively affecting spine health.
Depression and anxiety
We don’t know the exact cause and effect, but what we do know is that depression and anxiety are more common in individuals who sit for prolonged periods of time. Physical activity releases ‘feel good’ endorphins from the brain; the more active you are, the happier you feel!
How to get more movement into your daily routine
- Take a 30 second break from sitting at the desk every 30 minutes; set a reminder on your phone
- Do simple neck, shoulder and back stretches during these breaks
- Stand periodically while talking on the phone or watching television
- Take a walk break at lunch with your work colleagues
- If you work at a desk, try a standing desk or improvise with a higher table or counter
- Include exercise into your weekly schedule
- Take the stairs, not the elevator
- Walk or cycle part way to work
- Get off a few bus stops earlier to walk a few steps further
Elevate have an experienced team of allied health professionals who can advise and treat imbalances in the body and create a plan for you to get more movement into your day.