More and more, it’s becoming clear that the greatest risk to our health isn’t cancer, as we may have thought for a long time. Rather, it’s entirely preventable diseases. Chronic illness caused by lifestyle choices are swallowing up more and more of our healthcare funding. One of the biggest killers of them all? Inactivity. Many doctors have started to point out that several illnesses once thought commonly only amongst older people have started showing up in younger patients more and more.

The backbone of the issue

The single biggest cause of chronic pain as well as the leading cause of disability. Back pain is much more serious than many of us give it credit for and spending all day sitting and working in a terrible chair may be increasing your risk of developing it. Ergonomic furniture, like those from Humanscale, has been designed specifically to combat this problem, so if you’re starting to feel a twinge in your back more often as of late, look at your posture and whether or not your working arrangements help it.

What you knee’d to know

Another health issue that’s becoming more common at a younger age is knee pain and joint damage. Again, posture is to blame, in part. Seats that aren’t raised to keep your thighs level end up putting more pressure on your knees. Sedentary lifestyles are a leading cause of obesity, too, which increases the pressure you’re putting on your joints.

Keep it circulating

Varicose veins are becoming much more common, especially in younger women. Spending too much time sitting can have a lot of adverse effects on blood pressure, especially in the legs. What’s more, the risk factor of obesity makes women who spend a lot of time sitting or standing in one spot even more likely to develop them. It’s important to get up and stretch your legs, taking a five-minute break every hour if possible. Sites like Discount Surgical also have a great range of compression socks. These apply pressure that stops blood from pooling in the veins, as well as decreasing swelling that can lead to further joint damage.

Mind your head

It’s not all physical, either. More and more, the links between sedentary lifestyles and mental illnesses like depression and chronic stress are being discovered. Whether it is because sedentary lifestyles increase the likelihood of depression or that people who are depressed are more likely to live sedentary lifestyles is as of yet unknown. However, it’s well known that exercising, walking, spending time outside, or even engaging in hobbies that take you out of your usual environment are an effective way of managing or preventing depression, stress, and anxiety. Social media has also been linked to stress and anxiety so it’s a good idea to disconnect and take a break from time to time.

The nature of the modern workplace means that a somewhat sedentary lifestyle is unavoidable for many. However, it’s our responsibility to ensure that we make up for the damage we do to our bodies in the workplace, both by working with the right equipment and by being more active in our spare time.