I thought that when I transitioned from working in an office to being more on the go as a fitness professional, I was leaving behind the health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Apparently, the amount of time I spend sitting, whether it’s in front of a computer screen, at a table doing arts and crafts, or commuting in heavy traffic, also exposes me to a risk of a shorter life. According to an Australian study, people who reported sitting for at least 11 hours a day were 40 percent more likely to die during the study than those who sat less than four hours daily.
For the new study, van der Ploeg and her colleagues surveyed about 220,000 people from New South Wales, Australia between 2006 and 2008. The surveys included questions about participants’ general health and any medical conditions they had, whether they smoked and how much time they spent both exercising and sitting each day.
Then the research team tracked responders using Australian mortality records for an average of almost three years, during which 5,400 — between two and three percent –died.
They found that the extra risk tied to sitting held up regardless of whether people were normal weight or overweight, how much time they spent working out and whether they were healthy or had pre-existing medical conditions, van der Ploeg’s team reported this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
She said too much sitting may affect blood vessels and metabolism by increasing fats in the blood and lowering “good” cholesterol levels.
“When you are standing or walking your leg muscles are constantly working, which helps to clear blood glucose and blood fats from the blood stream,” she said. “If you are sitting this is not happening because the muscles are not active.”
So, time to peel yourself away from your laptop, or your iPhone playing Draw Something. It’s summer; get up and do something!