What Happens to Your Body When You Sit All Day?

While technology has opened up a world of possibilities for us, our bodies are suffering the consequences of our modern sedentary lifestyles spent sitting down.

By HourlyTraining

Published September 22, 2020.

Before the invention of computers and televisions, people would spend many hours outside and on their feet. Today, 70% of Americans are spending at least 8 hours per day sitting behind a computer screen, followed by many more hours sitting in front of the television. While technology has opened up a world of possibilities for us, our bodies are suffering the consequences of our modern sedentary lifestyles.

Sitting Can Cause Back Problems

When seated for long periods of time, the dynamics of the spine and weight-bearing joints are changed and the length of the muscle tendons are altered. Typically, people who sit for long periods of time will experience shortened hamstrings, leading to misalignment of the pelvis and lower back pain.

Sitting Can Cause Mental Health Issues

Studies have shown that people who sit for more than 6 hours per day are 90% more likely to experience psychological distress than people who sit for less than 3 hours per day. Research has also shown that people who spend more time watching television and playing video games are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression disorders than those who spend their time moving their bodies through regular exercise and physical activity.

Sitting Can Cause Trouble Sleeping

When sitting all day, we expend very little energy. This reduced energy expenditure may lead to sleep issues, such as restlessness and night-waking. Exercise and physical activity has been shown to help us fall asleep, as well as stay asleep.

Sitting Can Cause Joint Pain

Not only can sitting cause lower back pain, but it can cause pain in your knees and hips too. Joints need to be mobilized and moved around often in order to function effectively. By sitting down for long periods of time, the joints may become stiff and painful to move.

Sitting Can Cause Headaches

Typically, when seated at a desk for long periods of time, we find ourselves staring at a screen or looking down at something. This can cause neck pain, headaches, eye problems and migraines.

The Bottom Line

Human bodies are made to be active and moving, meaning that sitting all day long can have serious health implications. If you find yourself sitting for more than an hour at a time, make an active effort to get up and move around, invest in a better chair, or even a standing desk. Making small lifestyle changes now could mean huge health implications later.