Get up and MOVE: Sitting too long is linked to a higher risk of premature death, warn researchers
10/28/2019 // Zoey Sky // Views

People know how having a sedentary lifestyle can negatively affect their overall well-being, but not everyone is trying to be more active to boost their physical fitness. But it's time to start working out more.

According to a 2017 study, sitting for more than one hour without moving can also increase your risk for premature death. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent the dangers of sedentariness.

Why sitting too long bad is for you

The study, which was published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, found that sitting too long may increase mortality risk. Other studies have also found proof of the connection between prolonged periods of sitting and mortality.

In the study, researchers observed 7,985 American adults. The participants' sedentary time was tracked using a hip-mounted accelerometer.

Data from the device was then compared to the volunteers' “objective amount of sedentary activity with all-cause mortality.”

The researchers followed up with the participants, and they verified the adverse effects of sedentary behavior. Those who sat continuously for 60 minutes or more had a higher risk of premature death, unlike the other volunteers who took a movement break about once every half hour, even if the latter had the same total sitting time as the former.

The findings also suggest that a “greater total sedentary time” was linked to a greater risk for “all-cause mortality.”

The researchers concluded that sitting too long without engaging in physical activity increases one's risk for all-cause mortality and that working out regularly can help offset the harmful side effects of prolonged inactivity and risk of premature death. (Related: Offset the health risks of your desk job by exercising whenever you can.)


Battling sedentariness with low-intensity exercise

In a separate study in the Journal of American Epidemiology, scientists analyzed data from over 8,000 volunteers.

The results showed that low-intensity exercise helps counteract the negative effects of 30 minutes of sedentary behavior by about 17 percent. The researchers defined low-intensity exercise as physical activity that elevates your max heart rate by at least 40 to 50 percent.

The findings also revealed that moderate- to high-intensity exercise helps minimize your risk of early death by more than one-third.

How to stay healthy if you have a desk job

Follow these tips so you can stay fit even if you sit in front of a computer for most of the day.

  • Take phone calls while standing or walking.
  • Set an alarm to go off once every half-hour. When the timer goes off, get up and take a quick walk around your office.
  • On your lunch break, go for a walk outside. Eat your lunch at a park while getting some vitamin D.
  • Stand up and go to a quiet corner then stretch in place.
  • Use the stairs whenever you can.
  • Walk, bike, or run to work. If you commute, park far from your destination or get off one stop early and walk the rest of the way.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle to work and drink water regularly. Drinking a lot of water will help you stay hydrated and the bathroom trips ensure that you take frequent breaks to walk throughout the day.
  • Wake up earlier and exercise before heading to work.

The adverse effects of a sedentary lifestyle, such as a greater risk for cancer, diabetes, and premature death, can be minimized by increasing your physical activity.

If you have a desk job, follow a balanced diet and take frequent exercise breaks at work to boost your overall health and lower your risk of early death.

Sources include:

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