Sitting Too Long Raises Death Risk
The most dangerous thing you do daily may be sitting at your desk, another review found.
Are you sitting down right now? You might need to stand up.
According to a new review published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, sitting for a long time increases your risk of all-cause early death. (Now would definitely be the time to hold up.)
In the review, researchers followed 222,497 Australian adults for various years. Over the course of the review, participants who sat for maximum 11 hours a day had the highest risk for all-cause mortality, followed by the individuals sat between 8 and 11 hours every day. Those who sat for minimum four hours a day had the lowest risk of all-cause mortality.
The revelation that sitting can kill isn’t really new. In the previous several years, study after study has confirmed that living a sedentary life — going from your bed to your desk to the couch and back to bed daily — can damage our health in a variety of ways. In fact, it has been shown to increase the risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, dementia, and some cancers.
Another recent review really found that sitting is so detrimental, its effects are almost impossible to exercise away. The study followed 27 Finnish men and women over two days. On the first day, they exercised; on the second day, they did not. When researchers measured the muscle activity and heart rate of the participants, they found that though they burned calories through exercise, it did not increase their overall muscle activity. Researchers also found that desk workers’ muscles are inactive for around 70 percent of the day — regardless of whether the day incorporates any fitness training.
The takeaway: Reduce the amount of time you spend sitting however possible. Try these tips to up your daily activity:
Walk more. One of the simplest ways to offset the effects of sitting is to walk. If you can walk or bike to work instead of driving. If you take public transportation, get off some stops earlier to squeeze in more steps — experts recommend buying a pedometer and aiming for 10,000 daily steps.
Stand up at work. Specialists estimate that standing burns 50 percent more calories than sitting, so whenever possible, think on your feet on the job. Stand during meetings, while you’re on the phone, and depending on the type of work you do, consider adding a standing desk to your office.
Fidget while you work. According to specialists at the Minnesota Obesity Center, fidgeting might be what separates thin individuals from overweight people. To increase your daily activity, make a point to get up and walk around your office every half an hour, if possible.
Make TV time active. Instead of vegging out on the couch when you get home, add activity to your evenings by doing jumping pushups, jacks, crunches, and other fat-blasting moves during commercial breaks of your favorite shows.