Published: Tue, September 12, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Sitting too long without movement may kill you fast

Sitting too long without movement may kill you fast

Researchers analyzed 8,000 people older than 45, according to CNN, and found a strong correlation between the time spent sitting and death from any cause.

However, the author noted that the discrimination between sedentary times from sitting versus idle periods when people were standing has not defined by the accelerometers. They tended to be teetotalers, to have a higher body-mass index, and were less likely to get much intentional exercise.

Dr. Keith M. Diaz, from Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health at the University of Columbia in NY, is the lead author of this research study.

Even if you are doing the recommended amount of moderate to vigorous exercise, you will still have a higher risk of mortality if you're spending too many hours sitting.

"We need similar guidelines for sitting", said Diaz.

Exactly how prolonged sitting might be related to an increased risk of early death isn't known, he added.

Previous studies have shown being sedentary can be bad for your health.

"The REGARDS study was originally created to examine why blacks (and particularly blacks in the Southern US) have a greater risk for stroke than whites", said Diaz.

Dr. Diaz and researchers from Columbia University Medical Center looked at almost 8,000 middle age and older adults and found they sat on average for about 11 to 12 hours a day. Diaz and his team used a hip-mounted accelerometer to objectively measure sessions of sitting. The team found that 340 participants had died. The participants wore a monitor that kept track of the amount of time they were seated. The average sedentary period was 11.4 minutes.

Note that this study suggests that both longer total sedentary time and longer periods of sedentary time are associated with higher all-cause mortality. But subjects differed in the extent to which they hunkered down for long stretches without getting up and moving around. "The longer the better, the more intense the better", said Diaz. Alter, who did not contribute to Diaz' research, said some scientists theorize that more sitting leads to reductions in insulin sensitivity, while others believe net calorie expenditures decline as sitting increases.

The study has not designed the experiment to prove how sitting time directly causes premature death and this is a limitation of this study.

Experts say that what matters is the length of time between each burst of activity when someone is mostly sedentary.

Researchers compared the length of time people are sedentary to their mortality rates.

The researchers found that the test subjects sit down for a shockingly large percentage of each day - 12.3 hours over a 16-hour waking day, around 77%. "The longer the duration of sitting, the more negative the impact on our cardiovascular health".

Barry A. Franklin, PhD, director of Preventive Cardiology and Cardiac Rehabilitation at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, who was not involved with the study, told MedPage Today that the findings support recent studies which suggest that intermittent low-intensity standing throughout the day may be as important for disease prevention and optimization of health as is structured exercise.

"The first time we do this, the positive effects are immediate", she said.

"We need to be mindful of moving frequently throughout the day in addition to exercising", Diaz said. "So if you are a person who sits for long periods at work or at home, we think these findings suggest that taking movement breaks every 30 minutes could reduce your risk of death".

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