Sitting For Too Long May Be Damaging Your Mental Health

We've been hearing that sitting is the new smoking for years. Especially over this past year, many have stayed confined to their homes to work β€” meaning that they stand even less. Indeed, standing desks have exploded in popularity over the last decade to help combat this issue. Apparently, there are also mental health benefits to this type of desk as well.

Mindbodygreen recently reported on a study that followed 300 adults and inquired about their movement routines and overall health. Study author Liane Azevedo Ph.D., explained in a news release, "Although our sample of nearly 300 was very active, they were sitting for longer periods, with over 50% sitting for more than eight hours a day."

Most damning, the research showed that even the participants who were exercising for at least a half-hour each day but sat for eight hours still reported a worsened mental state. In fact, people who didn't sit for as long reported a better mood and overall emotional wellbeing β€” regardless of how active they were. Based on the findings, the study author recommends sitting less but also moving for at least 60 minutes if you have to sit for eight hours each day. This can help counteract the negative side effects of too much sitting and keep your spirits as high as possible.

Accumulate more movement during the day to counteract the detriments of sitting

Many people know that too much sitting can be damaging for their health, but struggle to find ways to work around it. But, rather than just exercising before or after work for an hour or so, it's important to move throughout your day. According to Inverse, a simple walk or movement session incorporated every few hours can make a huge difference. The outlet explains that activity is cumulative and moving your body sporadically rather than having one long workout can be more beneficial in the long run. Sports nutritionist, David Rogerson tells the outlet, "​​Any activity is helpful. But the research is fairly unequivocal in suggesting that regular physical activity throughout the day is important."

Rogerson suggests making time for hourly movement breaks to counteract the damaging side effects of sitting for too long. Set a timer and walk around for a bit or do some jumping jacks. Anything that increases your heart rate can help. "The movement needs to be fairly active and it needs to get you slightly out of breath," Rogerson says. "If you take structured movement breaks, what you'll find is that you'll feel better about your work. You might also be more productive, and it's gonna have a 'knock-on effect' in potentially improving your health."

From here, do a few specific stretches that counteract your seated posture all day long. Open the chest, elongate your legs and try a child's pose. The outlet explains that these can take pressure off of the spine and provide postural relief.