It’s 11:49 AM and you’re on a roll. Typing, what feels like, a million words a minute, no one can stop you. Then it happens. It’s 11:50 AM and your Apple watch is telling you to stand. How many hours has it been since you’ve used your feet or since you’ve even taken your eyes off the screen? You can’t remember. Have you even had breakfast?
Not saying you’ve ever done this, but in case you have, there are some things you might want to know about the effects of sitting too long before you decide to let 5 hours pass without moving.
- Weight Gain
One of the most common effects of sitting too long is gaining weight. While you might be an exercise junkie, even if you work out an hour a day, for 7 days a week, if you sit for 7 hours at a time it will make all that gym time counterproductive. Even if it’s a lap around the room during a Netflix marathon, make sure to keep moving!
While being seated might help you be productive in your writing, prepare yourself with the best ways to break up long periods of inactivity and reduce the effects of sitting too long. Read this useful article to get more ideas about how to treat body inflammation, which is a common effect of sedentary lifestyles and diets.
- Poor Posture
It should come as no surprise that sitting at a desk all day staring at a computer screen will destroy your perfect posture. You’ll start to hunch your back which leads to decreased mobility of your spine and plays a part in other pains you may experience through your neck and shoulders.
Although there are many great options that help improve your work environment in the form of chairs and standing desks, these can’t completely remove the negative effects of sitting for long periods of time. Do your part by being conscious of your posture when you sit to type and get up often to give your body a break from the writers’ slouch.
- Anxiety and Depression
As Elle Woods said in Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy” and this is true! When you spend all your time sitting, you miss out on the health and mood-boosting benefits that come with moving your body.
This can show up in the form of increased anxiety from too much screen time. You also might notice that you feel lonely which is a result of a Vitamin D deficiency. So if you’re looking for an excuse to go on a beach vacation, here it is!
- A Decrease in Mental Health
Even though you might think you’re engaging your brain while writing, getting up and moving is the way to get your blood and oxygen pumping throughout your body and, most importantly, the brain. When you sit for long periods of time, you deprive your brain of important nutrients that it needs to function properly.
Long term effects can look like permanent brain damage due to lowered brain activity and function. Even though your brain might be getting a workout during the day, don’t forget to give your body one too!
- Higher Risk of Cancer
Why your risk of cancer increases with the amount of time you sit is not known, but there is a theory that it advances the production of insulin in your body, which encourages cell growth leading to the creation of tumors. When you participate in regular exercise, creates an antioxidant effect within your body that can help prevent certain diseases, cancer being one of these.
How to Prevent All These Effects of Sitting Too Long
I know what you’re saying. Writing is your job and you have to sit to write, but there are steps you can take to stay ahead of these effects.
Set a reminder on your phone every 30 minutes to get up and take a lap around your house or workspace. This will get the blood flowing and help reenergize you. You can also change up workspaces or utilize a counter where you can stand instead of being seated all day.