Have you seen the news recently about the dangers of sitting too long? A new study has shown that people who sit for longer periods of time, have a higher risk of death. While this may make sense, what’s surprising is that this higher risk of death is also true for people who exercise. So, sitting, it seems, may be substantially dangerous to your health, even if you exercise. Let’s take a closer look at what the study showed:
The “low sitting time” group involved people who reported less than 2 hours of sitting time per day. In this study, “sitting time” meant sitting in front of a TV or computer, although risks were also found with driving in a car.
The “high sitting time” group involved people who reported more than 4 hours of sitting time per day.
The health risks associated with more sitting time included an almost 50% increase in risk of death from any cause, as well as a 125% increase in risk of cardiovascular symptoms like chest pain. Previous studies have linked long periods of sitting with higher risk of developing cancer, more abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar. Even people who exercised moderately or vigorously, are not immune to the dangers of sitting. Scientists say that exercise does not negate the negative health effects of sitting too long.
However, the good news is there are steps you can take to mitigate risks of excess sitting time:
- Stand up regularly. For instance, if you have a 10 minute call to make, stand while you’re on the phone.
- Take short walks. Every hour, try to walk around your office for a few minutes, or go outside and circle the parking lot. Just a few quick minutes of taking a break from sitting can help a lot.
- Try a standing desk. Or, stand at a high counter while sending emails or updating your calendar.
You do not have to take drastic action to have significant results. Spurts of standing and walking – even slow, leisurely walks – really add up. If there are times you find yourself stuck and unable to get up and out for a walk, check out our fitness video library. We’ve got short ‘seated workouts’ you can do in front of the TV, or even from your office chair!