%112 increase in diabetes? Check. %147 increase in cardiovascular diseases? Check. What else sitting is doing to our body and how? Read on.

Many of us know that sitting is bad for us. Many of us also have back pain. Do we know the connection in between.

PhysioHealth went back to medical school books to dig the truth. When we sit the load on our lower back increases by 34% and when we hunch over the load actually increases by %87. Due to this increased load, we get neck and back problems. 40-70% of office workers across different industries have chronic neck or back pain. In fact 30-40% of all healthcare costs in corporations are due to musculoskeletal problems according to HR consulting firms and insurance company data. Making sitting an enemy of both employees and employers alike. Hence, many Fortune 500 companies moved to using standing desks in the US. More on that later.

According to PhysioHealth Wellness Survey, more than 65% of office workers have the wrong posture when they sit. Sitting hunched over at our desks most of the day also hampers productivity. According to our survey, 30% of employees feel sleepy both in the morning and evening. Wrong posture does not help it either. Pilates instructor at Stanford University Nanci Conniff, PhysioHealth advisor, says that when we hunch over we limit our breathing capacity and decrease the amount of oxygen we take in therefore making us sluggish as the day goes on.

The part where sitting is known now to be killing us slowly comes mainly however with the increase risk of chronic disease and risk of obesity. National Health Services in the UK dates the link between sitting and risk of death in a study among bus drivers in London in 1950’s. London bus drivers were twice as likely to have a heart attack as their bus conductor colleagues. NHS clearly explains the impact of prolonged sitting in a more recent study from 2011. Sitting leads to:

  • 112% increase in risk of diabetes
  • 147% increase in cardiovascular events
  • 90% increase in death due to cardiovascular events
  • 49% increase in death due to any cause

For those who think nutrition and lowering the food intake is the main way to lose weight, you should know that prolonged sitting decreases the activity of fat burning enzyme, lipoprotein lipase (LPL) and causes weight gain.

Now, are standing desks the key to solve bane of prolonged sitting? A Wall Street article reports the findings of Cornell University Professor Alan Hedge both sitting and standing for too long are bad for your health. The optimum is about switching in between. Various research studies have shown that taking a 1.5-2 minute walking and stretching break for every 30-50 minutes of sitting reverses the impact of too much sitting.

This is especially important because exercising in the evening does not offset the impact of sitting. The key is to really break up your prolonged sitting. If you really want to address this issue and help pump the blood that pools in your feet and protect your body, then it is best to do key stretching and strengthening desk yoga exercises during your breaks.