According to CDC, about 8.5 million Americans are affected by peripheral vascular disease. It is a medical condition associated with poor blood circulation due to blockage and narrowing of the blood vessels. Unfortunately, the condition can lead to severe heart problems including heart attacks and strokes. Poor posture and lifestyle having minimum physical activities were found to be one of the leading causes of poor circulation in the body. After this analysis, the first thing that crosses the mind is whether prolonged sitting is causing poor blood circulation. Here is the complete article regarding what causes poor circulation in the body and what the workers can do to avoid it.
Poor Blood Circulation Due to Prolonged Sitting
Prolonged sitting causes numerous diseases and injuries. Many of them lead to poor blood circulation. For instance, when a person is seated for long hours, he experiences no physical activity leading to contact stress usually in the back and the lower parts of the body. The veins get compressed and hinder the proper flow of blood. Besides contact stress following are the reasons that lead to poor blood circulation in the body after prolonged sitting:
Veins in our body that transport blood has valves that control the backward and forward flow of blood. The varicose vein is a medical condition resulting due to the damage to these valves. The blood is unable to flow back to the heart and gets accumulated in the veins. It causes the veins to become enlarged and twisted resulting in poor blood circulation.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Clotting is an important process to stop bleeding but clotting inside the veins is something that can be hazardous to your health. Prolonged sitting can form clots in deep veins of the body, especially legs resulting in this medical condition. To add to the threat, the clots can travel to other parts of the body including the heart and the lungs resulting in either complete blood blockage or difficulty in breathing. Due to the inability of the blood to flow, the affected area becomes red and is accompanied by inflammation and pain.
Sitting for prolonged periods of time increases blood sugar levels and can make the person susceptible to diabetes type 2. Elevated sugar levels can damage the lining of the blood vessels or can cause peripheral arterial disease resulting in the narrowing of the blood vessels. Whatever the case is it often leads to poor blood circulation in the body. It is one of the reasons that doctors advise diabetic patients to exercise more than others. One of the major symptoms of poor circulation is leg cramps and numbness in the limbs. If the condition is associated with dry skin, loss of hair, fatigue, slow wound healing, and erectile dysfunction, then the person is for sure suffering from diabetes.
According to WHO, obesity among people has tripled since 1975. A sedentary lifestyle is one of the common causes of obesity. When a person becomes obese there is extreme pressure on his veins and capillaries due to his body weight. This pressure causes the veins to become compressed often leading to blockage and blood clotting. The blood cannot leave the specific part of the body and lead to edema. The skin of the affected region swells and the accumulation of a fluid can be felt easily. When one touches the affected region with his finger, pits are formed that come back to their place as soon as the finger is released.
Dangers of Poor Circulation
Poor blood circulation is not associated with poor nutrition of the body organs and tissues but is also associated with many other dangers. For instance, injuries take longer to heal, and the risk of skin ulcers, blood clots, and blood pressure problems increases. Regions with excessive blood pain a lot. A person can suffer from digestive issues. There is a risk of developing dementia as the brain loses its volume faster due to poor blood supply. Severe cases can result in heart failure and strokes reducing life expectancy.
Are Standing Desks the Solution?
As the name implies standing desks are made for working in a standing position. These desks are much better than regular sitting desks as they allow more movements and keep the body active. Standing does not hinder the blood flow and maintains proper circulation allowing the blood to reach all parts of the body including the brain. The best solution is to alternate between sitting and standing at work. You can either follow the 3:1 strategy according to which you have to stand for at least 15 minutes every hour. The overall goal is to stand for at least 2 hours during an 8-hour working day.
Tips for Improving Blood Circulation at Work
Sometimes people do stand and still face problems in blood circulation. So here are some tips to improve blood circulation at work :
Try to Move More
Besides standing, try to walk around the desk. Use every opportunity you get for this purpose. For instance, take a coffee break, take a lunch break, or if someone needs help, go and help him. Similarly, if you get a phone call, try to stand up and walk around the desk while taking the call.
Take a Break for Stretches
Stretches are one of the proven ways for improving blood circulation. When one stretches out the body, it involves different organs allowing the blood to reach each and every tissue in the body. Try doing diaphragmatic breathing while sitting in your chair. Do a quick lunge or some squats. In fact, do whatever stretches you remember in your break time. Remember the goal is not to work out but to give your body some mobility. There is no need to do strenuous stretches. One or two poses for 10 to 30 seconds are more than enough.
Though high heels are not related to the overall blood circulation of the body, they do affect your feet and legs. Heels shift the entire pressure of the body towards the toes and the anterior region of the foot. The higher the heel is the greater the pressure will be. It disturbs the normal distribution of the blood in the feet. Heels tend to get low levels of blood while the anterior part can be flooded. Leg cramps after wearing high heels are often due to poor circulation. Dear ladies! prefer comfortable shoes at work. Your health is more important.
Avoid Tight Clothes
Tight clothes do not seem to affect your health much but they cause a lot of problems. Poor blood circulation is one of them. Though the upper part of the body does not feel difficulty in blood circulation, lower body parts are affected often. Such as pants having a tight waist might compress the blood vessels, not letting the blood flow towards the legs in adequate amounts.
Sitting for long periods of time can cause contact stress, varicose veins, and deep vein thrombosis directly contributing to poor blood circulation in the body. Other problems like obesity and diabetes can also influence blood circulation indirectly. Besides improper nutrient supply to the body, the person is also at risk of heart attack and stroke. Fortunately, standing desks are here to save us. Standing prevents almost all of these diseases allowing the blood to reach each tissue and cell in the body.