Sitting is a part of life, and since the pandemic hit, many professions switched workers to remote working, requiring more at-home zoom meetings where workers sit alone at a desk, usually for many hours of the day. For a large percentage of the population, remote working is still a reality, even 2+ years after the pandemic first hit.
Sitting all-day at a desk may negatively affect the body unfortunately. As sitting time increases, the risk of developing a chronic illness, like vein disease, may also increase. Sitting for long periods of time can cause poor circulation. This excessive pressure in the veins of the lower extremities can also increase blood pooling in the legs, which can contribute to the development of vein disease. As vein problems increase, it can lead to more severe leg conditions over time.
Varicose veins can arise when too much blood pools in the legs, creating pressure within a vein that causes it twist and blow up into a varicose vein. These types of veins can be very painful and deter a positive quality of life and can even indicate a more serious underlying vein problem.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVTs) can occur when prolonged sitting causes a blood clot to form in the leg veins. This is particularly serious because a blood clot can diminish blood flow. And what is even more serious is if that blood clot breaks away and travels to the lungs, which can cause a pulmonary embolism.
How can I fight the effects of sitting all day?
There is no way to avoid sitting – it is most definitely a part of life. But there are small changes that one can manage that will improve overall leg health. We’ve put together a list of suggestions that can add movement to your day. It’s important to seek out movement in some capacity every day.
- If sitting, take good form – Avoid sitting with your legs crossed and try to keep the feet flat on the floor.
- Take breaks – Every two hours to stand, stretch or walk.
- Adjustable desks help – These desks allow you to alternate between sitting and standing by finding a nice balance between the two.
- Add a stability ball as a chair – This encourages good posture and activates the stomach, back and leg muscles as you have to work to balance the ball in one place.
- Accidental exercise – Find ways to be mobile by taking the stairs, parking farther away from your intended destination, etc.…
- Leg exercises at your desk – Marching in place or doing leg extensions while sitting can help activate your legs while in a sedentary position.
- Take a break and get outside – Pop outside and enjoy nature for a few minutes.
Sitting for long periods of time not only adversely affects our legs, but our overall health in general. It can also increase the risk of developing other chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease, and not to mention things like weight gain, digestive issues, poor posture, muscle weakness and the negative toll it can take on our mental health. If you do feel like you are at risk for vein disease, talk with your healthcare provider about the conservative measure of graduated compression stockings.
If you would like to learn more about vein disease, visit here.