We all now know that sitting all day without any stretching or exercising is bad for your health, your physical health that is. Studies have already shown that sitting all day can lead obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and the rising popularity of standing desks speaks to our concern of how our more sedentary lifestyle, especially those of us in 9 to 5 office jobs, is causing negative health consequences. Recent research from the Association for Psychological Science however has also discovered a link between sitting all day and poor mental health.
Data for this study led by psychological scientist Michelle Kilpatrick of the University of Tasmania was collected as a part of a health outreach program for state government employees. 3,367 participants were asked to fill out a psychological assessment looking for possible feelings of anxiety or depression within the last four weeks and they were also asked to assess their physical activity. Researchers discovered that those employees who sat for at least six hours a day experienced more anxiety and depression than those who were more active during the day. Women were reported as being more prone to psychological distress caused by sitting too long than men were.
Interestingly enough, although taking that spin class or going for a run after work has many benefits on its own, according to this study, these activities do not cancel out the damage done by sitting in the office for six or more hours.
"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," Kilpatrick wrote in her report.
While you can't help having to work the daily grind, it is important to incorporate little breaks for stretching and walking during office hours. Both your mental and physical health depend upon it.