If you are like many people in the American workforce, you have a job that requires you to sit at a desk for 40 hours - or more - every single week. People who remain sedentary for such long periods of time can face long term risks to their general health and wellness.
While studies have shown that increasing exercise can all but eliminate these risks, doing nothing can lead to severe, oftentimes fatal results. So, what can sitting down all day really do to your health? Here are five harmful health effects of having a sedentary job:
1. Higher Body Mass Index
When you are not moving around for hours at a time, the amount of calories burned are close to nonexistent. People who exercise can greatly decrease this and other risks associated with remaining sedentary, but without being active, obesity becomes much more likely.
2. Higher Blood Pressure
While blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day, sitting all day increases the risk of having higher blood pressure in the long term.
3. Higher Cholesterol Levels
Without exercise, the enzymes in your body that are responsible for ridding fat from the bloodstream can cause the levels of "good cholesterol" to drastically fall.
4. Early Signs of Diabetes
Some recent studies have concluded that people who sit all day produce much less insulin than the average amount. One study recorded a 40 percent decrease in young volunteers after 24 hours of being sedentary.
5. Inactive Muscles
Without exercise, sitting all day means the majority of your body's muscles are doing nothing. When one stays active, the muscles create molecules that are beneficial to your health. When remaining motionless for much of the day, that process does not occur.
By taking a few breaks per day to move around, you can avoid these costly effects. Walking for just a minute twice an hour throughout your day will stave off some of these harmful effects.
Author and business thinker Nilofer Merchant suggests a small idea that just might have a big impact on your life and health: Next time you have a one-on-one meeting, make it into a "walking meeting" — and let ideas flow while you walk and talk.
For more tips on health and wellness visit our resources section or find a nutritionist near you.