Most of us work in an office and thus are seated for most of the day. So is it bad to sit in an office chair all day or not?
We may think that it’s a safe environment, but the reality is that it can cause health issues.
It’s crucial to remain active, even throughout the working day.
This post is dedicated to discussing the risks of sitting in a chair for too long.
We’ll also cover some of the ways to counteract this problem.
One of the most important is definitely investing in the right chair.
Table of Contents
- 1 Is it bad to sit in an office chair all day? Introduction
- 2 How to overcome the health risks associated with sitting in an office chair for too long
- 3 Potential health risks of sitting down too much
- 3.1 Back pain: Is it bad to sit in an office chair all day?
- 3.2 Higher risk of dementia
- 3.3 The impact of sports is partly lost
- 3.4 Increased risk of diabetes
- 3.5 Higher risk of anxiety
- 3.6 Decreased life expectancy
- 3.7 Reduced mobility as you grow older
- 3.8 Heart illness: Is it bad to sit in an office chair all day?
- 3.9 Increased risk of weight gain
- 3.10 Higher risk of spider veins
- 3.11 Increased risk of cancer: Is it bad to sit in an office chair all day?
- 3.12 Higher risk of blood clots
- 4 Is it bad to sit in an office chair all day and what to do about it? Conclusion
Is it bad to sit in an office chair all day? Introduction
What exactly are the health risks associated with sitting in an office chair all day and how long should you sit in an office chair??
First of all, if you’re reading this, then well done!
You’ve already heard the experts advising us against sitting down for long periods at a stretch and looking to mitigate your situation.
Not only is moving healthier, but it can prevent severe medical conditions such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Studies have revealed that inactivity can lead to type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and in the most severe of cases, death.
There are other concerns, too.
If you’re using a badly designed chair, you’re risking back pain, hip flexion (an injury caused by unending hours of sitting down combined with weak hip muscles), poor posture and potentially muscular atrophy for your glutes and leg muscles through lack of use.
How to overcome the health risks associated with sitting in an office chair for too long
Luckily enough, there are ways to minimize the risks of prolonged sitting and some of them might surprise you:
Consider buying a better office chair
If we’ve said this once, we’ve said it a hundred times, and it is so important that we’re repeating it:
Sitting down can trigger issues such as neck and back pain or postural problems.
And it’s not only the length of time that is at fault – it’s the way you’re doing it, too.
Take a good, hard look at your workspace. Is there anything you can do to make it better?
We’re not talking about pics of fluffy kittens or your favorite superhero, although we’ve got some of those ourselves.
You’ll probably find that it all works well for you and that the culprit is your chair.
How old is your chair? If it was used by any founding fathers, you’d probably need a change.
As good as your posture may be, it doesn’t count for anything unless you’re using an ergonomic chair.
Look for a durable, robust office chair that lasts long and that is also comfy and stylish, and that boasts ergonomic features (adjustable arm and headrests, just to mention a few).
Overwhelmed by choice? We’ve got you covered.
All you have to do is go through our Office chairs for large persons purchasing guide that’s been put together with you in mind.
Take regular breaks when sitting down for an extended duration by standing up and walking around
If you think that you have to invest vast amounts of time working out or pay personal trainers just to make up for the hours you spent sitting down, then you’re wrong.
Unless you have severe mobility problems, the best and most effortless way to change your sedentary lifestyle and improve your health is just by moving around.
For example, you can get up every hour to get yourself a drink of water from the water cooler (it’s good for your eyes too).
Stand up when answering a phone call.
Brainstorming session? Nothing better than walking around to get those brain cells whizzing about.
A healthier approach is, yes, that quick and straightforward.
Waiting for the elevator? Go up those steps and get your blood pumping.
You might find it a little strenuous at the beginning, but we promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much those minor changes translate into significant gains.
Even if it’s only a couple of flights of stairs. Don’t spend your lunch break at your desk. Instead, try to leave your office and change scenery.
It will help you unwind, and you’ll find yourself energized enough to face the rest of the day.
You might make this a habit by making it a little, regular team-building activity for the entire office to take part in.
Potential health risks of sitting down too much
This is not meant to instill fear but to help you avoid anything that could end up being more than just an inconvenience to deal with.
Back pain: Is it bad to sit in an office chair all day?
The seated position puts considerable pressure on your back muscles, neck, and spine, and it’s even worse if you slouch.
That ergonomic chair will work wonders!
You’ll be sitting in a chair that will offer you the appropriate support and make life easier all round.
TIP: Check Which office chair is good for back pain? and discover several suitable ergonomic office chairs for heavier persons.
But a word of caution: No matter how comfortable you are, your body isn’t meant to be sitting down for too long.
Move around for a bit every 30 to 40 minutes to keep your spine in line.
Higher risk of dementia
By sitting down too much, your brain could deteriorate and resemble that of an Alzheimer’s sufferer.
Sitting also facilitates heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Moving throughout the day will be enough of a workout to avoid the above.
The impact of sports is partly lost
The results of excessive sitting are tough to counteract through a workout.
Even if you exercise 10 hours a week (which is much more than the 2.5 to 3.5 hours as advised by professionals), you can’t reverse the impacts of sitting 8 or 10 hours at a time.
So don’t be a couch potato, think that going down to the health club will make up for it. Keep moving!
Increased risk of diabetes
Sit down a lot? You’re more likely to develop diabetes.
It’s not about burning fewer calories; it’s the actual sitting that seems to do it.
Doctors think sitting might change your body’s reaction to insulin, the hormone that helps burn sugar and carbs for energy.
Higher risk of anxiety
It could be that you’re often alone in front of the TV or a computer screen, and if this is disrupting your sleep, it will make matters worse.
Remember that excessive alone time can make you withdraw from pals and loved ones and is connected to social stress and anxiety.
Scientists are still trying to find out the precise cause of this but in the meantime try to make an effort, even if it’s just a bit. It’s enough.
Decreased life expectancy
You’re most likely to pass away earlier from anything if you sit for long stretches at a time, and exercising every day won’t help.
Now, don’t take this as an excuse to avoid the gym – it’s still important and will help to a degree that shouldn’t be ignored.
Reduced mobility as you grow older
Older adults who become less active are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis (weakened bones).
This will severely impact their quality of life and could eventually leave them unable to carry out basic tasks, such as taking a bath or using the toilet.
While moderate exercise won’t be enough, there’s no need to start running marathons (although there’s nothing to stop you!).
Just don’t down for hours at a time.
Heart illness: Is it bad to sit in an office chair all day?
The first indications were noted by scientists in a study that compared 2 groups:
- long-distance drivers, who sat for most of the day, and
- conductors or guards, who did not.
Their diets and lifestyles were similar enough to make the doctors realize that the drivers were about twice as likely to get heart illness as those moving around.
Increased risk of weight gain
Are you a white-collar workaholic? Or addicted to your screen or TV?
There’s a high chance that you’re obese or on the verge of becoming so.
If you exercise every day, as good as it is, it will not make a massive dent in the pounds you’re piling on due to excessive screen time.
Higher risk of spider veins
Blood can pool in your legs and increase pressure on your veins.
They could swell, twist, or bulge, which doctors call varicose veins or spider veins.
They aren’t usually serious, but they can hurt. Your physician can tell you about treatment alternatives.
Increased risk of cancer: Is it bad to sit in an office chair all day?
You may be more likely to get colon, endometrial, or lung cancer by leading a sedentary lifestyle.
Older females have greater chances of breast cancer.
Even if you’re super-active, that doesn’t change. So what matters is how much time you spend sitting down.
Higher risk of blood clots
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a clot that forms in your legs through sitting for too long.
If the embolism breaks, it can travel through your body and lodge itself in your lung or brain, and that’s pretty serious.
Sometimes there are no symptoms until it’s too late.
Regular movement goes a long way to avoiding this.
Is it bad to sit in an office chair all day and what to do about it? Conclusion
This is a concise overview of the possible dangers of sitting down for hours on end, especially in the office.
We’ve mentioned the long-lasting health risks and which type of chair you should look for.
You can browse a selection of plus-size office chairs here if you’re interested in replacing your chair.
Last tip: Read How much weight can an office chair hold? and discover why the weight limit of a desk chair is crucial!