The effects of prolonged sitting
Due to the current climate that the pandemic has brought upon us, we are transitioning from office spaces
to stay at home work spaces. Because of this we are in a greater sedentary state for prolonged periods of
Is sitting that bad?
Any simple physical activity previously done in our day to day lives has been eliminated and those include,
walking from your parking spot to your destination, carrying necessary items to your workplace and even
walking to a Starbucks to get your coffee. This lack of physical activity isn’t exclusive to just adults. With
schools remaining closed and the younger population staying at home taking online classes they too, are
now exposed to this new “routine” of sitting for prolonged periods of time. This undoubtedly yields long
term negative effects on the body.
What are the negative effects?
- Degeneration of muscles
- Shortening of the hamstring muscles which may lead to lower back pain and neck pain
- Chronic Fatigue
- Heightened risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity
These are just a few of the potential negative effects.
Combating a sedentary work life
Fortunately, there are things one can do to prevent long term complications from presenting themselves.
Some of these are
- Install a standing desk in your workplace
- Do chair squats – stand up and sit down 10 times for every 30 minutes spent sitting.
- Exercise on your lunch break
- Practice a variety of range-of-motion exercises, such as glute and hamstring stretches
Exercise is not just beneficial for your physical health but also your mental health! which is
also taking a hit during these unprecedented times. Physical activity encourages the release of
endorphins. Endorphins are the “feel good” chemicals of the central nervous system they interact with
receptors in the brain to reduce a person’s perception of pain, boost their energy level, and improve one’s
ability to sleep.
There is always a solution
In the event where symptoms begin to arise, physical therapy has been proven to be highly effective in
strengthening and stretching the muscles that are most affected from prolonged sitting. Our therapists at
allied health solutions can help you understand how the musculoskeletal system works, how to maintain
proper posture and can provide personalized exercises and stretches that will target your challenges to
reduce any pain and boost mobility.
American Heart Association. (2016). Sedentary behavior and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality: A science advisory from the American Heart Association. DOI:doi.org/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000440
Prolonged sitting linked to serious health risks, death. American Academy of Family Physicians. https://www.aafp.org/news/health-of-the-public/20150127sitting.html. Accessed April 10, 2018.