Sitting may cause anxiety

Sitting is the new smoking; there is ample evidence that the act of sitting increases many disease processes. Research tells is that sitting ages you at the cellular level and studies have shown that it reduces your lifespan. One study of more than 123 000 people found 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 and 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. Now, in addition to these physical effects, a new study indicates that sitting has mental effects as well in that it can increase anxiety levels.

In fact the mental effects of sitting have already been established. Research has told us that sitting is linked to depression and as these Deakin University researchers observed, anxiety is increasing in society at the same time as we are becoming more sedentary. So they wanted to see if there is a link between sitting and anxiety.

To test this they evaluated nine separate studies that specifically evaluated the link between sedentary behaviour and anxiety.

In four of the studies total sitting time was associated with increased anxiety levels. This sitting included sitting using a computer, watching television, work-related sitting, or sitting on transport. The evidence about sitting and watching a screen was less strong but sitting overall was definitely linked to anxiety.

The researchers think that the link between sitting and anxiety could relate to altered sleep patterns, social withdrawal, and reduced metabolism. Whatever the cause though, it is certainly worth finding ways to get out of your chair and get upright; you will, quite literally, be happy that you did.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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