Many people sit at work, sit in the car, then plop down on another seat when they get home. They may even get a meal via a drive-thru, when they can, instead, get out of the car and order inside. This type of lifestyle can adversely affect one’s overall health, not just one’s body composition. A sedentary lifestyle interferes with athletic goals and can have serious consequences on progress by creating a body that is prone to injury. In addition, sitting for long periods isn’t heart healthy. Below is more information on the negative effects of sitting for prolonged periods.
The seated position encourages poor posture and can create muscle imbalances, e.g., tightness in the chest, shoulders, hip flexors, and weakness in the traps. Muscle imbalances can lead to otherwise preventable injuries. Thus, if you’re athletic, it is best to avoid sitting for long periods.
Poor Blood Circulation
Poor blood flow is also a major issue linked to sitting and can be more harmful than muscle imbalances. The seated position does not promote optimum blood circulation. In fact, sitting down for four nonconsecutive hours — that’s right, nonconsecutive hours — has been linked to negative heart-related conditions, such as heart disease. Heart disease affects more women than breast cancer. This is partly due to the reality that, in general, women tend to be more sedentary than men. So stand up, ladies!
Good blood circulation is also linked to cellulite reduction, and sitting is linked to the creation of cellulite. Ever notice how the areas of the body that have the most cellulite are often constricted by some outside pressure on the skin: sitting or tight fabrics. If women stand more often, they can not only reduce the accumulation of cellulite on the back of the thighs and glutes, they can prevent the formation of the unsightly dimpling, to begin with.
The Benefits of Standing
- Increased Caloric Burn
- According to Dr. Buckley of the University of Chester, UK, standing burns more calories than sitting. Standing three to four hours per day at work is the equivalent of running 10 marathons in a year. Sounds worth it to me!
- Improved Posture
- When you stand, less pressure is placed on the lower back. This is the area where many frequent sitters complain about pain. Standing more often can ease that pain, or prevent it. As a tip, be sure that if you stand at a computer, that the screen is a comfortable height to where you won’t have to bend your neck often. Standing for improved posture loses its purpose if you develop neck strain from looking down often.
- Muscle Imbalance Prevention & Improved Blood Circulation
- Detailed above.
Knowledge is the secret to fitness success. Why sit for long periods when I know the harmful consequences? I stand up at my job more often than I sit. I’ve heard people say things like: “you stand because you like to show off your figure,” “she likes attention”, “she wants to be seen,” and similar comments. Well, none of that is the case. Besides, many men stand as often as I do — the difference is, no one cares when they do it. But when a woman does it, the other women can’t stand it. Weird, huh? Regardless, I stand and put my health above office haters and gossip. Women, if you decide to stand at work, you might experience similar backlash to what I’ve experienced. Just think about your health and not what other people think of you.
What if you have to sit?
Some work is too intense to stand. If you must sit, try a desk exerciser. I have one at home and at work. A desk exerciser won’t help with posture, but it helps to promote better blood circulation, which, as stated above, is good for your heart.
For a better sitting posture, try a stability ball. Stability balls encourage a natural upright posture, and there’s an added bonus to this, by sitting upright naturally, as opposed to conforming to an ergonomic chair, your back and abdominal muscles are activated, creating increased calorie burn.
In light of the benefits linked to standing more frequently: increased caloric burn, healthy blood circulation, cellulite prevention and reduction, and improved posture, I hope those of you reading this will choose to stand more often. It may be awkward, depending on how your workplace is set up, but if anyone gives you lip about standing, tell them it’s for your health, and know that your heart, muscles, and posture are all better off than that of your sedentary co-workers.
Please check out the resources below on this topic.
How Much Better Is Standing Than Sitting: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24532996
How Does Heart Disease Affect Women: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hdw