Regardless of how much you exercise, your body weight, or health status, prolonged sitting appears to dramatically boost the risk of dying. This is the riveting conclusion from a landmark report, and everybody needs to take heed. This study is part of the largest ongoing evaluation of healthy aging in the southern hemisphere and included over 200,000 adults.
According to the scientists, study subjects who sat 11 or more hours a day were 40% more likely to die in the next 3 years vs. those sitting less than four hours a day. The public health implications from these findings are enormous because the average adult spends 90% of their leisure time sitting down (on top of prolonged work-related sitting at a desk. Ouch!).
These results are in line with other recent study findings that have shown that prolonged sitting has immediate adverse effects on cardiovascular and metabolic health. Your blood vessels and metabolic machinery simply don’t work as well when your muscles are not engaged as in sitting. EVERYONE needs to know that regular exercise is not enough to maintain optimal health- you must avoid prolonged sitting too.
For best results, strive to get up and move around a bit every 15 minutes. Studies show that the cardiometabolic benefits of movement kick in within 30 seconds. As little as 1-2 minutes of light activity like walking to use the restroom helps significantly. Simply standing up is also beneficial. Be especially vigilant in avoiding prolonged sitting after meals. The combination of no movement and glucose entering your system after meals can be particularly high risk. (Archives of Internal Medicine, online March 26, 2012)
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