It’s no surprise that prolonged sitting has been linked to numerous negative health effects. Rather than listing them all, some sources simply state that too much sitting increases risk of premature mortality.

Yikes.

Consider for a moment that the human body is designed for a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Every part of the body is designed for movement. The core, for example, stabilizes the body so humans can stand upright. Powerful leg and glute muscles are intended for running, jumping, climbing, and lifting heavy objects. Hunters and gatherers used these muscle groups through daily movement.

Modern life looks quite different than the nomadic lifestyle of our ancestors. We no longer rely on movement to survive. In fact, most of us rely on sitting at a desk for 8+ hours a day to survive. The problem with sitting for such long periods is that our core muscles aren’t as engaged as they should be, our legs are doing zilch, and our glutes aren’t activated. Without activation, these muscle groups weaken, increasing the risk of injury. Keep in mind that injuries aren’t always due to a dramatic slip and fall or car accident. Injuries can develop slowly overtime due to repetitive microtrauma, such as sitting for extended periods of time…

The effects of prolonged sitting on musculature are only part of the problem. Lack of movement also negatively effects cardiovascular health and metabolic processes. And let’s not forget about our bones that grow stronger in response to resistance and movement. If you’re one of the many who must work at a desk, please remember to take a “movement break” every 30 minutes. Walk around the office, get a drink of water, take a flight of stairs. Consider adding a standing desk to your workspace, and make sure you exercise daily to negate some the effects of sitting.

Infographic: washington.edu

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