The Downside Of Deskwork: 10 Negative Side Effects Of Sitting Down All Day

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13 Dec 2018

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It’s no secret that exercise is extremely important and has a load of  health benefits. Following this logic, it’s also pretty clear that long periods of inactivity, like sitting down at a desk all day, can have some pretty serious negative side effects. Thankfully it doesn’t take that much effort to counteract them, so make sure you check out the following list to help give you some motivation to get up from your desk and get moving regularly.

Weight Gain

Putting on the pounds is one of the most obvious side effects of an inactive lifestyle. Excessive amounts of sitting has been shown to decrease lipoprotein activity. This negatively impacts the body’s ability to burn fat while encouraging the body to burn carbohydrates (instead of fat) for fuel.

Weaker Muscles

When it comes to muscles, it’s most definitely a case of “use it or lose it”. Extended periods of inactivity can weaken muscles all over your body, particularly your legs and glutes, and this can damage your posture, increase your risk of injury and lead to more chronic conditions further down the line.

Poor Circulation

Sitting down all day can slow your circulation and cause blood to pool in the legs and feet. This can lead to swollen ankles, varicose veins and even dangerous blood clots like deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Heart Disease

If you’re body is burning less fat and your circulation is poor, there’s an increased chance of cardiovascular disease. Numerous studies have also linked inactive sitting to elevated cholesterol level and high blood pressure.

Poor Posture

In addition to weakening your muscles, prolonged sitting or slouching can cause a whole range of problems in your neck, shoulders, back and hips. Workstation massage can be helpful and combating these and providing relief from the symptoms.


Inactive sitting has proved to be a major contributing factor to your risk of diabetes. This is due to the fact that decreased muscle mass and strength can lower insulin sensitivity (the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels). The lower the body’s insulin sensitivity, the higher the incidence of diabetes.

Decreased Mental Agility

It might sound a bit counterintuitive, but sitting down at a desk all day and doing mentally based work can actually reduce your mental agility. Inactivity can mean the brain is unable to get the blood and oxygen it needs to function optimally. As a result, brain function slows down, and this can affect performance and concentration levels.

Chronic Pain

The longer you sit down and maintain bad posture, the more likely you are the experience chronic pain in areas including your neck, shoulders, back, hips, and legs.

Depression & Anxiety

Exercise and staying fit and healthy have been proven to have positive effects when it comes to combating anxiety and depression. As such, people who are sedentary at work for long periods are at a higher risk of suffering from these conditions, which can also be exacerbated by a vitamin D deficiency (from working inside all day) and feelings of isolation and loneliness caused by a lack of social interaction.


Perhaps the most serious side effect of prolonged sitting is the increased risk of lung, colon, breast, uterine and endometrial cancers. While the exact reasons for this are not clear, it is possibly something to do with the fact that sedentary behaviour can boost insulin production (which encourages cell growth) along with increasing other cancer risk factors like weight gain, changes in hormonal levels and metabolic dysfunction.

What Can You Do?

The good news is that there is lots of things that you can do to combat these negative side effects. Corporate wellness programs like, yoga and exercise classes, that get people moving on a regular basis are a great start. Taking regular breaks from your desk to walk around and get your body moving, using a standing desk and purchasing some desk exercise equipment are also other great options.

If your staff spend a lot of time sitting down, get in touch with us today to find out more about how we can help make them a happier, healthier and more productive bunch by combating the negative side effects of being seated all day.

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