Not sitting down as much might be the key to longevity, suggests a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Researchers from the study found that prolonged sitting down was associated with a massive increase in the risk of death.
The study analysed data from the records of 127,554 people whose health was monitored for 21 years.
Everyone in the study joined it healthy but over the 21 years, 48,784 people from the study died. Researchers used the data to spot any trends between those who died.
What they found was that people who sat down for prolonged periods of time – over six hours – each day were more likely to die from 14 different conditions.
Compared to people who sat less than three hours, these sedentary people were at a 19 percent higher risk of dying from a range of conditions combined, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, suicide, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.
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However, the study wasn’t focused on finding out precisely why these people died. It spotted a correlation rather than a cause.
The lead author, Doctor Alpha Patel of the American Cancer Society explained to the American Cancer Society website: “While we still have yet to understand how to quantify what a safe amount of sitting time may be, what is clear is that individuals should take any opportunity to take breaks in sitting time and cut down sitting time to whatever degree they can.”
The authors put forward a few explanations for why sitting lots can be responsible for a higher risk of dying.
Other tips include the following:
- Stand or walk around while on the phone
- Take a walk break every time you take a coffee or tea break
- Walk to a colleague’s desk instead of emailing or calling
- Swap some TV time for more active tasks or hobbies.
“To reduce our risk of ill health from inactivity, we are advised to exercise regularly, at least 150 minutes a week, and reduce sitting time,” the health body states.