Updated: Jan 28
One in four Americans sit down for more than 8 hours per day. According to this study, those who spend more than 6 hours per day sitting with low levels of physical activity the rest of the time, have a 71 percent increase in mortality rate. This has led some researchers to make the claim that ‘sitting is the new smoking’.
Aside from increasing our mortality rate, sitting all day is also causing 31 million of us to experience constant back pain. It’s time to get moving!
In this article we’re going to cover what happens to your body when you sit down all day, and the best exercises for low back pain, so that you can alleviate your pain, get moving, and improve your health hassle-free.
3 things that happen when you sit down all day
86 percent of Americans have desk jobs that involve sitting all day. It’s not surprising that low back pain is one of the most common health conditions in the US: we’re sedentary, and hunched over our laptop for hours on end.
Numerous studies have been conducted as an attempt to understand the effects of sitting all day (a sedentary lifestyle). Here’s the summary of what they found.
1. Your risk of heart disease and certain cancers increase
According to the National Cancer Institute, those who spend eight or more hours per day sitting have up to a 66 percent higher risk of developing cancer compared to those who are more active. Sitting increases your blood pressure and decreases the diameter of your arteries, which increases the likelihood of developing heart disease.
2. You gain weight
A large scale study with 800,000 people in England found that those who sat the most had a 112 percent increase in the relative risk of developing diabetes. It slows your metabolism and decreases the activity of lipoprotein lipase which helps us to burn fat. While this doesn’t automatically lead to weight gain, it makes it a lot easier.
3. You become less mobile
Sitting all day causes your gluteal muscles to switch off and tighten up which has a knock on effect for our quads, hip abductors and quads. When your lower body is tight, your back and knees are under more pressure because the glutes are responsible for stabilizing your entire body.
Having poor posture whilst sitting can often also cause back pain, your shoulders and neck are tense and often curled over a laptop. This position causes excessive pressure on the muscles, joints and discs causing chronic pain in serious cases.