Several studies suggest that spending too many hours sitting is considered a form of habitual inactivity and puts you at risk for deep vein thrombosis and metabolic syndrome. Other emerging studies even suggest the dangers of sitting too much can lead to an increased insulin resistance, heart disease and developing some types of cancer. Indeed, living a sedentary lifestyle can be dangerous to your health, especially if you work from home as a virtual assistant with routine activities of prolonged sitting doing computer work. Now let me ask you a question. Are you aware that sitting too long increases your risks of chronic health and mental problems, including thrombosis?
When you sit too much during the day, the blood starts to pool in the legs. When the blood becomes thicker and stickier, it increases the risk of blood clot forming, especially in the legs called as deep vein thrombosis and in the lungs called as pulmonary embolism.
The less sitting or lying down you do, the better would be your chances of extending your healthy life of mobility. When you stand and move upright, your heart and cardiovascular system, including your bowel functions more efficiently.
When you are not moving for long periods of time, the heart beats more quickly. At this point, there would be lower volume of blood pumped and often comes with a lower oxygen uptake.
This state often results in unexplainable fatigue and also makes you feel dizzy when you stand.
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Sitting for long periods causes blood to pool in the legs that may lead to varicose veins. In rare cases, they can lead to blood clots and serious problems like deep vein thrombosis.
Just to give you an idea, thrombosis may form in the veins of your leg when you sit for long on a long plane flight, car trip or work from home as a virtual assistant.
Deep vein thrombosis is a serious problem that should not be ignored. When part of a blood clot in the leg vein breaks off and travels, it can cut off the blood flow to other parts of the body, including your lungs called as pulmonary embolism. Major complications may occur, even death!
Most of the time, what may happen is that these blood clots would cause shortness of breath including pain when breathing and an increased heart rate. The situation is as common as stroke.
In fact, the condition has been dubbed as an economy class syndrome because it can be brought on by stretches of prolonged immobility with long distance flights.
Physical inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle is a major contributor of preventable deaths around the world. It has been classified as the 4th leading cause of death due to non-communicable disease.
Blood clotting in the veins is more likely to result from venous stasis during sitting rather than from lying down. Healthy people immobilized in chairs for long periods during the day in a horizontal position is seen to drain the lime from the bones.
DVT symptoms can be swelling of the leg or arm, unexplainable pain or tenderness, redness of the skin and skin that is warm to the touch. Pulmonary embolism symptoms can be difficulty breathing, irregular or faster than normal heart beat, chest pain or discomfort, anxiety, coughing up blood and fainting spells or lightheadedness.
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Stiff neck and shoulders
Sitting for too many hours in front of the computer causes pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulder area.
You may have noticed people who are bedridden in the hospital experiencing problems with their bowel functions. Constipation is common due to the decreased fluid intake, decreased movement of the digestive tract and an incomplete emptying of the bowels.
Decreased mobility and prolonged bed rest make urination less effective. The bladder tends to retain fluid and is harder to empty, which may put you at risk for infection.
Moving helps your body digest the fat and sugar you eat. Digestion may not be efficient when you spend a lot of time sitting, which is one reason you retain and store fat in your body.
Even if you exercise but spend a large amount of time sitting, you are still at risks for metabolic syndrome. The latest research suggests you need at least 60 to 75 minutes per day of moderate intensity activity to combat the dangers of excessive sitting.
Shortened hip flexors
When you sit for long periods, you waste and weaken your large leg and gluteal muscles, which are important in stabilizing and walking. Just like your legs and gluteal muscles, your hips and back may not be able to support you if you sit for long periods because it can cause the hip flexor muscles to shorten.
When hip flexor muscles shortened, it can result in problems related to hip joints. Poor posture caused by prolonged sitting may lead to a poor spine health, such as disc compression that may result in a premature degeneration.
Another study found that too much sitting can be bad for mental health. It was noted that higher risk for both anxiety and depression is prevalent in people who sit more.
Immobility is associated with mental health and cognitive issues such as depression, anxiety, apathy, sleep disturbances and confusion.
Bed rest may sound gentle but this is deceptive. The human body is made to move and immobility creates multiple problems even in a few days.
Deterioration caused by bed rest affects the neck, abdomen, lower back, buttocks, thighs and calves. When not used, the muscles rapidly weaken and waste away.
The strength decreases as much as 20 to 30% after only a week of complete bed rest. Regaining your strength may take longer than the speed of losing it!
The decreased muscle strength including the nerves affects coordination and balance. Immobility results in a limited joint movement when the cartilage around joints begin to deteriorate and the connective tissue thickens while the muscles shorten, which negatively affects walking and daily activities.
If you sit too much, your brain could look just like that of someone with dementia.
When you are in pain, you may find it difficult to get up and move. You need to build more activity into your day
- Walk or cycle
- Use the stairs
- Run or jog
CDC. Blood clots and travel
Healthday. Further signs that too much sitting can raise clot risk.
Sitting too much is bad for your health. It hurts everything you need to function as a healthy person. Blood clots, also called deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can be a serious risk for anyone sitting over 4 hours. They may not be visible through the skin because they form in the deep veins of your legs. Most of the time it will dissolve on its own.
A serious health problem only occurs when a part of the blood clot breaks off and travels to the lungs causing a blockage and may be fatal. Lessen your risk and try your best to stand up and stretch every half hour or so.