The dangers of sitting too long

When we are sitting, we are generally static or immobile and many of us sit with our backs at an unhealthy angle, which places increased pressure on our spines.

Sitting, especially wrongly, puts most pressure on our spines

In the picture, the four different sitting positions show the difference in pressure on the spine, whether you are sitting healthily or badly.

Please don’t end up sitting or slumping over too long, especially with the discs under maximum pressure.  It’s a clear sign you need to change your position, take a break, or stand to work.

In short, there are several dangers with sitting too long:

  • Staying static and immobile can ‘lock’ the muscles
  • It’s hard to move about so we can be even less mobile
  • Risk of heart disease, diabetes, DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis), obesity,  and general lethargy from prolonged sitting.
  • We become mentally tired sitting too long and then make mistakes and become unproductive.

Standing (or better, walking) puts less pressure on the spine

Do you see how in the diagram, a standing position drastically reduces the pressure on the discs?

Walking reduces the pressure even further and actively promotes better circulation and oxygen in the deep muscles.

The importance of workstation ergonomics

Setting up your workstation properly can be essential, especially if you are taller or shorter than average!  Please read more about the Workstation Setup here.

I’m now a huge fan of sit-stand desks. In my opinion, it’s really essential if you are working more than about 30 hours a week at the desk. The flexibility it gives has several advantages, and of course helps to reduce the pressure on the spine.  For the in-depth article please see Benefits of a Sit-Stand Desk.

Keeping Active – moving gently whether we are standing or sitting

I’m a huge fan of active seating where the movement helps the blood to circulate and the muscles to relax. As you’ll notice if you come into my clinic, most of the chairs are active seating chairs.