Sitting on a problem

Everybody knows that being physically active is good for you. So that means that time spent sitting around is bad because you are not exercising. What new research is showing however, is that sitting itself is bad for you and can shorten your life.

There is increasing concern about health conditions that relate to inactivity like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. What this new study has done though is go a step further and explore the link between time spent sitting and longevity.

More than 123 000 people were involved in the study. These people were chosen to have no history of cancer, heart disease, stroke, or lung disease. Then between 1993 and 2006 the researchers monitored how many hours the individuals spent sitting.

The findings were that women who sat for more than six hours per day were 37 per cent more likely to die during the course of the study. Men who sat more than six hours per day were eighteen per cent more likely to die than men who sat for less than three hours per day.

The link between sitting and longevity remained even after the researchers adjusted their data to incorporate activity levels. The association was stronger for heart related deaths than for cancer related deaths.

The really scary statistic is that when you combine sitting for long hours with a lack of physical activity, women are 94 per cent more likely to die compared to those who are most active. In men those inactive people were 48 per cent more likely to die compared to active men.

There is conjecture as to what is causing the link. Sitting is known to increase triglycerides, bad HDL cholesterol, overall cholesterol, blood glucose, resting blood pressure, and the hormone leptin. The researchers conclude that a simple health recommendation to the largely sedentary population would be to just get up and walk around during the day.

I have to go now…

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The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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