Let Your Body Have Language – Sitting All Day Is Bad For Mental Health
Christopher Philip

It is well known that sitting all day without exercise is bad for your physical health – this is a given, but new research suggests that it’s also bad for your mental health.

Sitting all day has been found to be linked to obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. To help in remedying the negative outcomes for our sedentary lifestyles many offices have adjusted to this by introducing standing desks. However, office jobs which often require sitting for longer periods of time may be more, or at least equally harmful to our brain health.

Recent data published in the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity by Michelle Kilpatrick of the University of Tasmania found a positive correlation between those who sat for at least six hours a day and feelings of anxiety and depression. The negative effects of sitting were strongest for women.

The study also raises concern about trying to remedy the negative effects with a quick end of day burst of exercise as they do not seem to cancel out the damage done by all day sitting.

“Consequently, individuals may be meeting recommended levels of health promoting physical activity, yet their physical and mental health may remain at risk if they are also sedentary for prolonged periods,” says Kilpatrick.

As we detail routinely here at BLP, our brain and body are intimately woven. What affects our body affects our brain and vice versa. While our minds may be conversing and receive inputs and stimulation from digits on a screen or voices through telephone, our bodies are largely silenced by the chains of a desk and this naturally has negative repercussions in the short and long-term.

To combat these effects, we should break our workload into smaller chunks and mix in social body movement as well as more intense exercise and stretching. To have a complete and healthy being, we need to tune our brains and bodies.

Resources

Kilpatrick, M., Sanderson, K., Blizzard, L., Teale, B., Venn, A. (2013), Cross-Sectional Associations Between Sitting at Work and Psychological Distress: Reducing Sitting Time May Benefit Mental Health. Mental Health and Physical Activity. 2013. 6(2):103-109. doi:10.1016/j.mhpa.2013.06.004