Sitting Too Long Can Actually Kill You Earlier Than You Thought

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Most of us spend much of our time sitting down. Be it at work, school or at home, we go though our everyday life carrying on tasks sedentary, oftentimes for a long period of time. Furthermore, we all know that a sedentary lifestyle is bad for the health and prolonged sitting can cause bad posture and may slow down our metabolism which is responsible for the regulation of blood sugars, blood pressure and breaking down of body fats. In short, prolonged sitting is killing you slowly. But a new study shows that it can actually kill you earlier than you thought.

Researchers from different institutions across the USA, conducted an experiment to establish a link between the amount of time spent sitting and the risk of early death. Nearly 8,000 participants of REGARDS Study, who are adults over 45 years of age, wore a device mounted on their hips for over a week which monitors their daily activities and, in particular, measures their inactivities. The recorded data would then be analyzed and assessed. After more than a week of analyzing the data, results showed that most sat for more than 12 hours while they were awake. In a follow up, four years after, they learned that 340 of the subjects had died.

The findings suggest that those with over 12 hours sedentary period of time in a day, sat for 60-90 consecutive minutes at a time, had twice the death risk compared to those who sat for less time. While those engaged in brisk activities while sitting had lower risk of early mortality.

While the research did not indicate which activities are best to reduce the risk of early death, they encourage people to be active as possible. “So if you have a job or lifestyle where you have to sit for prolonged periods of time,” co-author Keith Diaz said, “we suggest taking a movement break every half hour.”

In a statement, co-author Monika Safford said, “This study adds to the growing literature on how dangerous long periods of sitting are for our health and underscores a growing awareness among clinicians and researchers that sitting really is the new smoking,”. “We need creative ways to ensure that we not only cut back on the total amount we sit, but also increase regular interruptions to sitting with bursts of activity.”

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