A Sedentary Lifestyle Kills

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Provided by Novant Health

health & wellness

Sitting too long linked to chronic disease

A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that too much sitting for prolonged periods of time is a killer, even if you exercise regularly.

In a comprehensive review of 47 studies, the new research reports that those who sit for 8-9 hours of the day were at greater risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The effect was even greater in people who didn’t exercise at all.

By sitting for extended periods of time, people raised their risk of diabetes by 91 percent, cardiovascular disease by 14 percent and cancer by 13 percent, the Canadian research team found.

Sedentary people who exercised a half hour daily had a 16 percent higher risk of early death than people who do not sit for long. However, they still fared better than those who did no exercise at all – a group with a significantly increased risk of early death at 40 percent, according to the research.

“It makes sense,” said Dr. Scott Ross, a family care practitioner at Novant Health Bull Run Family Medicine in Bristow, Virginia. “People who are not exercising are at increased risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease as a consequence of being overweight.”

Researchers defined prolonged sitting in the studies reviewed as ranging from 8-12 hours a day or more.

“It confirms what we’ve been hearing for years,” Ross said. “Increased cardiovascular activity is important for overall health and helps mitigate an unhealthy diet and bad habits like smoking.”

Here are some more tips to get moving:

  • Get up from your desk every half hour for a few minutes to stand or walk around when you’re working.
  • Try watching TV while standing or exercising. Even if you watch while seated, get up during commercial breaks.
  • Try to reduce sedentary time by a few minutes each day. The researchers advised aiming for 2-3 hours less of time spent sitting in a 12-hour day.
  • Keep exercising regardless of how you spend the rest of the day. Any time spent exercising is still time not spent sitting.

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