The past couple of decades research has shown just how dangerous sitting can be when you overdo it. So you probably understand the physical dangers involved with sitting all day. But did you know that your sedentary lifestyle can also have a negative impact on your mental health?
Psychological scientist Michelle Kilpatrick with the University of Tasmania conducted a health study in 2014. She and her research team collected relative health data from 3,367 government employees. The goal of the study was to understand if physical inactivity led to a poorer than normal state of mental health.
The findings were pretty conclusive. Employees that sat down for most of their workday, more than their peers, “experienced increased rates of anxiety and depression.” This information was gathered from the participants via a validated psychological assessment used to reveal symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The participating workers were then asked to reveal their level of physical activity. To rule out any non-correlating factors, physical activities away from work and the employees’ satisfaction with their jobs were taken into account.
The research team was able to show a “significant relationship between rates of psychological distress and sitting.” When employees sat for longer than 6 hours each day, they were much more likely to show moderate to high levels of depression and anxiety, especially when compared to those that sat for less than 3 hours a day.
Oddly, women reported higher anxiety and depression rates than men. Male test subjects reported sitting an average of 5 hours a day, while the female participants sat on average 4 hours each day.
Probably more substantial was the finding that after work exercise and high levels of physical activity did not offset any negative effects of sitting for too long. Those test subjects that hit the gym, went jogging, played sports and were generally more active than average were just as likely to suffer from bouts of depression and anxiety at work if they sat for too long during the day.
This is just one such experiment. But it jibes right along with several studies that show 3+ hours of sitting each day as the start of too much sedentary inactivity.
Dr. Michael LeRoux Ocean State Chiropractic | Ocala, Florida
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