Sitting at work for long periods can cause a number of health concerns, including but not limited to, back pain and decline of metabolic health. I see a number of clients who have sedentary jobs and lifestyles that involve long hours of sitting and inactivity which puts them at a high risk of metabolic diseases and they often ask if they can reduce their risk by increasing the intensity or duration of their exercise? And from emerging scientific literature, the simple answer is no. A Recent study published in 2014 looked at subjects who would replace incidental exercise with vigorous exercise and found that one hour of daily physical exercise cannot compensate the negative effects of inactivity on insulin level and plasma lipids if the rest of the day is spent sitting. Reducing inactivity by increasing the time spent walking/standing is more effective than one hour of physical exercise, when energy expenditure is kept constant.
Long periods of sitting can also cause lower back pain due to upper and lower cross syndromes. These include certain muscles becoming tight, leaving their antagonists weak.