Science is finding that computer work doesn't just wreak havoc on our legs and back.
With the rise of laptops and other technology, more and more careers require sitting for hours on end. Even meetings can be held online, negating the need to get up and move around at all. As such, physical exercise has become a goal for which we must intentionally set aside our time. But the risks of sitting go beyond heart disease and obesity. Ironically, sitting can dampen our ability to do our work at all.
Sitting for too long can affect everything from skin to blood flow to nerve endings, but perhaps more surprising than that is that it affects our lungs. Most people sitting with their back bent over in a slightly curved position, but this position puts “uneven pressure” on your spine.
Not only can this cause damage to your spine which is stretching to accommodate the unusual position, but this also narrows the chest cavity, which reduces the space the lungs have to expand. Obviously this is bad, but why does it dampen your ability to work?
Well, if your lungs aren’t expanding enough, your body is receiving less oxygen. The reduced amount of oxygen combined with decreased blood flow means that your brain activity slows, damaging your ability to concentrate. Inactivity is also linked to many health problems, including cancer and diabetes, and researchers have estimated that inactivity causes 9 percent of premature deaths worldwide every year.
But what can we do? Nowadays, many jobs require long periods of time sitting or working on a computer. When you do have to sit, sit up straight to allow deeper breathing, and, when you don’t need to be stationary, try moving around, getting up to stretch, or going for a short walk while you think. Your body will thank you later!