Those who sit for too long die younger - study

Sitting for too long has been found to accelerate the development of chronic diseases.

In Summary

•It is especially problematic where workers may sit at desks for 8 or more hours a day without properly exercising. 

• Researchers admit that sitting is a health problem in all countries.

Human beings spend close to half of the day sitting whether it be in meetings, commuting, in offices or watching late night movies. 

Repeated studies have made it clear that sitting for too long has the potential to accelerate the development of chronic diseases leading to early deaths. 

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that adults who sit for one to two hours at a time without moving have a higher mortality rate than adults who accumulate the same amount of sedentary time in shorter periods.’

"We tend to think of sedentary behavior as just the sheer volume of how much we sit around each day," said Keith Diaz, PhD, lead investigator of the study.

"But previous studies have suggested that sedentary patterns, whether an individual accumulates sedentary time through several short stretches or fewer long stretches of time, may have an impact on health."

While researchers admit that sitting is a health problem in all countries, it is especially problematic in low-income and low-to-medium income countries where workers may sit at desks for 8 or more hours per day without exercising. 

"So if you have a job or lifestyle where you are forced to sit for prolonged periods of time, we suggest taking movement breaks every half hour. This one behavior change could reduce your risk of early death, although we don't yet know precisely how much activity is optimal," Diaz said.

In conclusion, researchers emphasize the importance of keeping active, taking small breaks from our desks and incorporating exercising in our lifestyle.

The researchers also found that sitting at a desk for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity posed similar health risks as obesity and smoking.

"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," said study co-author Monika Safford.

"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."

Always take those walks
Always take those walks
Image: Pixabay
WATCH: The latest videos from the Star