Whether it is sitting at a desk job or spending an evening on the couch watching television, people are spending more time sitting down than ever. According to a recent Washington Post article, regularly sitting for long intervals can negatively impact your health from your head to your toes. With the prevalence of immobile lifestyles on the rise, how can spending too much time sitting down affect your health? Hampton Family Practice provides some answers to this question.
Human bodies are designed for regular movement which helps with our circulation. As our blood circulates, nutrients, oxygen, and toxins are pushed throughout our bodies. Poor circulation can negatively impact every function of our body, damaging organs like the heart, the pancreas, our digestive systems, our muscles and even our bones. As our blood slowly moves through our bodies, the pancreas is forced to produce more insulin to stimulate our idle muscles. Muscles will begin to degenerate over time, particularly the ab, back, neck and leg muscles, resulting in a strained neck and sore shoulders. The back can become chronically painful as the lumbar disks soften after being squashed unevenly. Even the circulatory system suffers causing varicose veins and worse, deep vein thrombosis, which forms a clot that can eventually travel to other parts of the body like the lungs. All of this poor circulation and lack of movement can eventually lead to heart disease, various cancers, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
Sitting for long stretches of time can have negative impacts on your mental health as well. Poor circulation can cause brain fog by less oxygen and mood-enhancing chemicals pumping into the brain. Over time this can disrupt sleep patterns and cause an increased risk of anxiety and depression. When someone spends more time alone, they are more likely to withdraw and develop social anxiety. Over time, immobility can increase someone’s likelihood of developing dementia.
Studies show working movement breaks into your daily routine will help productivity and combat the negative impacts of sitting for long stretches of time. Parking your car further from the entrance, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, stretching and trying out yoga poses are all great things to try to increase the blood circulation and muscle movement. Free radicals build up and damage cells but regular movement boosts the production of antioxidants which can combat this process and the development of cancers and other diseases.
Sitting too much can be damaging from head to toe. There are little changes that can be made to daily routines to incorporate more movement and circulation which can make all the difference physically and mentally. Hampton Family Practice and our team of providers are happy to work with you to find an exercise solution that will keep you healthy for years to come. Contact us for an appointment to get started!