According to research published in 2016, 87% of Americans use the internet. We all know what it is like to spend long hours at a computer, either for leisure or work purposes. In fact, some of you may spend 7 to 8 hours a day sitting at down a computer each day, in which case this is some extremely important information for you.
Regardless of the reasons you spend at the computer, it’s important to realize that. Millions visit the hospital each year experiencing symptoms of lower back pain, but very few realize that this is connected to the pressure being put on our lower back from sitting all day at the computer.
When you sit in a chair for extended periods of time, you are not only effecting your back. You effect your posture, your blood flow, your muscles, your nerves, your eyes, and your brain. As we will see, it’s one of the biggest health crises our modern world faces, and hardly anybody is talking about it.
As harmless as it may seem, spending too much time at the computer may just be one of the leading causes of health problems today. Sitting is the new smoking. Literally. It’s just as addicting, and in some cases, it may be just as harmful to your health long-term.
Let’s take a look at a few studies.
Negative effects sitting has on our health
Researchers at the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that the odds of disability were 1.52 times greater for every one hour increase in sedentary time, independent of time spent in moderate-vigorous activity. In other words, spending time on the computer sitting down increases your chance of physical disability, regardless of how much you balance it out with physical activity.
A paper published this year in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that prolonged sedentary behaviour was associated with a 15 to 20 per cent higher risk of death from any cause; a 15 to 20 per cent higher risk of heart disease, death from heart disease, cancer, death from cancer; and as much as a 90 per cent increased risk of developing diabetes. In particular, researchers found that sitting long hours a day is linked to a much higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
In fact, an analysis that pooled data from 41 international studies, Toronto researchers found the amount of time a person sits during the day is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and death, regardless of regular exercise.
Other effects sitting has on your health
Here is a list of other adverse effects sitting can have on the health of your organs, muscles, tensions, and nervous system:
- Tight hips
- Mushy abdominal muscles
- Brain fog
- Neck strain
- Shoulder and back pain
- Inflexible spine
- Vertebral disk damage
- Strained neck
- Poor circulation in legs
- Obesity from lack of movement
Here is a helpful infographic to help put a picture to these negative health effects:
Breaking cultural habits
It’s a habit to get home and sit in front of a screen. But it’s also a habit to experience preventable health issues in our culture. Some people don’t have a choice but to work a 9-5 job where they sit at a computer all day. I once did this as well. With the amount of hours the average American spends sitting at work each day, finding balance in the workplace is essential to prevent a health crisis down the line.
Many people think that “relaxing” means turning on the television or hopping on their laptop. The brain is still in a state where it is procession information, synthesizing data, and taking in new stimuli. This actually uses up more of your mental energy and fills your mind with programming from propaganda and advertising.
Its a habit of our society to equate time in front of a screen with relaxation. It’s a habit to feel mentally fatigued. It’s a habit to be addicted to stimulus. What would people thousands of years ago say about our lifestyle? What about Tibetan monks, yogis, and spiritual teachers? Our lifestyle is clearly failing us. It’s just a matter of breaking the habit.
Eat well. Sleep well. Play often. Exercise. Give yourself some time away from inner and outer chaos. Spend time in nature. Go on adventures. Relax. Release. Turn off the television, stop spending so much time on the computer, and read instead. Drink herbal teas. Stretch. Meditate. Drink more water. Love yourself enough to know that your minds addiction to stimulus is not worth shortening your lifespan for.
Deep down, we all know how to take care of ourselves. It’s just a matter of getting back to basics and looking at all of the moving parts that are involved in overall wellness.