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Dangers and Effects of Prolonged Sitting

Sitting at your desk might seem like the least dangerous thing you can do in a workplace. Compared with operating a forklift, working the high steel on a construction site, or working deep underground in a coal mine, sitting at a desk all day doesn’t seem all that risky. However, just because health hazards associated with a desk job are not obvious doesn’t mean they don’t exist. In fact, research has shown that sitting for prolonged periods every day can have serious effects on your health. Here are some of the biggest dangers of sitting all day — threats to your long-term health or that of your employees:

  • Poor circulation.When you’re sitting for extended periods, your circulation slows down, especially in your legs. Fluids can pool in your ankles, creating health issues ranging from swollen ankles to varicose veins, and even potentially fatal blood clots.
  • Back injury.Sitting causes a muscle in your abdomen called the psoas to constrict, which pulls the upper lumbar portion of your spine forward. Because your upper-body weight is not evenly distributed along the arch of your spine, you can suffer a herniated disk in your lower back. Sitting too long also causes the disks between your vertebrae to stiffen because they don’t expand and contract in the same way as when you’re moving.
  • Shoulder and neck pain.Slouching or craning your neck forward to read your computer screen or see your work while sitting misaligns the vertebrae in your neck, which can strain your shoulders and neck muscles.
  • Heart disease.Some studies suggest that prolonged sitting is correlated with high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, while others claim people with sedentary lifestyles are twice as likely to develop cardiovascular conditions as more active folks.
  • Weak muscles.If you sit for too long, you’re not getting enough exercise. That can lead to excessively weak muscles in your abdomen, hips and back, which can make it more difficult to get around as you get older.

Although the health risks of sitting at a desk all day can be serious, you can take steps to reduce those risks. For example, getting up and moving around hourly can help ward off many of the degenerative effects of sitting all day at work. However, not everyone has the luxury of being able to decide when they can step away from their desks for a break. Many professionals, such as emergency dispatchers, aren’t free to roam at will, if at all.

For these people, a specially designed operator chair manufactured by Concept Seating can help. Our 24/7 chairs, such as the high back model, have adjustable features to ensure proper sitting posture regardless of body type. These chairs can help prevent back pain, relieve shoulder pain and improve blood flow throughout the body. The right chair will also help distribute body weight evenly, making it the best chair for sitting all day. If your position demands that you sit at a desk all day and you’re concerned about the health risks, take a look at our chairs to see how Concept Seating can help.