If you’re like most Americans, then you probably work at a desk for hours at a time, and your obligations after work may not leave you much time for physical activity. A sedentary lifestyle can damage your health in numerous ways, and in today’s post, we’ll take an in-depth look at how inactivity can be detrimental to your health and well-being.

As we’ll discuss below, back pain is one of the most common results of a sedentary lifestyle, and the spine doctors at The Spine Care Center in Manassas can help you relieve your symptoms with a personalized treatment plan. Use this form or call our office to schedule an appointment, and continue reading below to learn more about the health risks of a sedentary lifestyle!

What Is a Sedentary Lifestyle?

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day, or 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. Some health officials also recommend walking at least 10,000 steps per day. No matter which of these activity metrics we use, the data is clear: most Americans are not exercising enough.

69% of adults in the United States are classified as either overweight or obese, and this is in large part due to the fact that jobs have become more and more sedentary over time. In fact, the number of sedentary jobs has increased by 83% since 1950, and many workers put in more than 40 hours each week.

What Are the Health Effects of a Sedentary Lifestyle?

Weight Gain 

As we noted in the previous section, most Americans aren’t getting enough exercise, and consequently, they’re seeing their waistlines expand. Sitting for long periods of time slows down your metabolism, which in turn makes it easier to pack on the pounds. Weight gain can make you tired and sluggish, making it even more difficult to find the motivation to get active. The cycle continues, and many people find themselves stuck in a cycle that proves difficult to break.


Osteoporosis is a progressive disease in which bone density decreases throughout the body. As a result, individuals with osteoporosis have a significantly higher risk of fracturing or breaking bones. Sitting for long periods at a time reduces blood flow throughout the body, and can cause the pelvis and leg bones to become weaker.

While it may sound counterintuitive, putting stress on your bones by exercising is actually one of the best ways to strengthen them. Whether you stand at your desk, take walks, go for runs, or lift weights, getting active is one of the best ways to keep osteoporosis at bay.

Chronic Pain

It’s bad enough that more and more Americans are leading sedentary lifestyles, but it’s even more unfortunate that many of them have poor posture as well. As we noted in a previous post about the connection between office jobs and neck pain, many workspaces are not designed in an ergonomically sound way, which in turn puts pressure on the spine and causes muscles throughout the body to tighten.

Poor Circulation

Poor blood flow can cause a number of issues throughout the body, and as you may have guessed, sitting for long periods of time is one of the primary causes of poor circulation. Sitting for as few as 10 minutes has been shown to impede blood flow, and sitting for more than eight hours each day can cause issues such as chronic fatigue, tingling in the extremities, headaches, cramps, and blotchy skin.

Mental Health 

Inactivity isn’t just bad for your body — it can have negative effects on your mind, too. Research has shown that those who sit for at least six hours each day 90% more likely than active people to experience symptoms such as anxiety, hopelessness, and restlessness. Exercise has well-documented mental health benefits, with some forms of exercise such as intense cardio providing similar effects to an antidepressant.

As an added bonus, exercise is a free and effective form of back pain treatment!

Contact Our Manassas Spine Doctors

We hope that today’s post has helped you to understand why you should do your best to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting. In our next post, we’ll provide you with a few ways to get active and reduce the time you spend sitting, even if you work long hours at a desk. Be sure to bookmark our blog page and check back for the latest updates!

The Spine Care Center in Manassas provides a wide range of treatments for back pain that can help you improve your quality of life and get back to doing the things you love. Our spine doctors are among the most skilled in the nation, and our entire staff will work to help you find non-surgical solutions that provide you with long-term relief.

Schedule your appointment with our office today!