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Negative Effects of Prolonged Sitting

It is common for professionals to sit at their desk for 8 to 12 hours a day. While sitting at a desk and using a computer or filling out paperwork is often necessary for the success of a business, sitting all day can lead to many negative consequences. Recent studies have proven that excessive sitting can increase an individual’s risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even colon, lung, and uterine cancers. Unfortunately, this risk rises with each two hour period of sitting.

In addition, sitting can lead to back pain as it puts more pressure on the spine than standing. This is because the disks in the back are designed to expand and contract as an individual moves in order to absorb nutrients and blood. Sitting causes the disks to become compressed and eventually lose flexibility. Prolonged sitting can also increase an individual’s risk of developing ruptured disks.

Although completely avoiding sitting during the work day is not always possible, there are some things you can do to get up and incorporate more movement into your day. Pacific Spine recommends the following tips for individuals who sit too much:

Back Pain, Negative Effects of Prolonged Sitting

Move Every Hour

If possible, try to move every hour at work. Get up and walk to the bathroom, make your way over to the nearest copy machine, go to the cafeteria to grab a water, or talk to a co-worker in a different department. You can even set a phone or computer reminder so that you don’t forget.

Change Your Behaviors

It’s easy to move more without completely changing your daily activities. You can park in the back of the parking lot instead of the front to force yourself to walk further. Instead of taking the elevator, you can take the stairs. Talking to a co-worker in person rather than emailing them is another simple behavioral change that can make a difference.

Standing Desks

While not every employer will agree to implement them, standing desks are a great way to avoid sitting too much. Standing desks put less strain on your back, improve your blood flow, and keep your muscles active. Treadmill desks that make it possible to burn calories while getting your work done are also an option that can be presented to management.

Walk During Conference Calls

Instead of taking conference calls while you’re sitting at your desk, walk around the office. In addition to helping you engage in more movement, walking during conference calls can help alleviate stress and stimulate creativity.

By implementing the simple changes mentioned above, you can reduce the amount of time you sit at your desk as well as your risk of developing back pain and other serious health conditions. For more details on the negative effects of prolonged sitting, contact Pacific Spine today.

  • Oregon Medical Association
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Scoliosis Research Society
  • North American Spine Society