According to a new study, sitting time is associated with a higher risk of all causes of mortality: heart disease mortality, cancer mortality and diabetes.
The study was published on Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The average person spends more than ½ of their day sedentary – sitting watching television or working at a computer.
Researchers found that prolonged sedentary time is harmful for everyone. Prolonged sedentary behavior is associated with a 15% to 20% higher risk of death. This data was ascertained after adjusting for the effects of regular exercise. However, the risks were less pronounced in people who participated in higher levels of physical activity.
This information comes with the warning that just because someone exercises a half-hour to an hour a day doesn’t mean that that person can sit for the other 23 hours of the day.
Despite the health enhancing benefits of physical activity this alone may not be enough to reduce the risk for disease.
More than half of the average person’s waking hours are spent sitting. Promoting health messages about reducing sedentary time are as important as promoting physical activity.
According to researchers there are simple things that can be done. For example every half hour stand up for two to three minutes at a time.
Researchers further advise to take it slow. Try to reduce sitting time by 15 to 20 minutes per day and increase that week to week. Ultimately the goal is to be sedentary two to three hours less in the day.
More research is necessary to understand what represents a healthy balance between being sedentary and engaging in physical activity. The relationship with physical activity needs to be figured out.