Many of us, including me, spend hours each day sitting at a computer. This letter, in New Scientist, explains why this is very bad for us and what to do about it.
We are frequently told we need plenty of exercise and that sitting is
bad for us. Is the problem with sitting merely that it stops you exercising, or is sitting bad in itself?
Glan Conwy, Clwyd, UK
There are many
detrimental effects of sitting in addition to the physical inactivity
itself, which has links to obesity, diabetes and so on.
when standing, the spine has a characteristic 's' shape
whereas sitting curves the spine into a 'c' shape, which compresses
the discs between the vertebrae and can increase the risk of back injury. Hip
and knee flexor muscles may shorten with too much sitting, which
reduces the range of motion of those joints.
inactivity can result in pooling of blood in the legs, which can lead to
varicose veins and increases the risk of deep-vein thrombosis. Reduced
lymphatic drainage leads to swelling at the extremities, puffiness
in the eyes and face, and fatigue headaches.
sitting, internal organ function is impaired. Bowel mobility is reduced,
and your digestion isn't as efficient, while reduced diaphragm movement can cut lung capacity after
as little as an hour.
A simple way of reducing the risks from sitting is to
stand up and move at least every half an hour and to take daily exercise.
Letter in New Scientist 16 November 2019