Cutting Sitting Time Could Extend Life

Limiting the time we spend sitting to just three hours a day could add an extra two years to our life expectancy, scientists calculate.

Similarly, if we cut daily TV viewing down to two hours we could add on 1.4 years, they say in a for the online journal BMJ Open. But experts say the US estimates, which are based on five separate population studies, are too unreliable to predict personal risk. Plus the targets are unfeasible.

Adults are advised to do at least two-and-a-half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week, as well as a couple of sessions of muscle-strengthening exercises like lifting weights or digging in the garden. But even if you do this recommended amount, you may still be sedentary – for example, if you work in an office you may spend most of your working day sitting.


A growing body of evidence suggests the more time we spend sitting, the less healthy we may be. Several studies have linked sitting and television viewing to conditions like diabetes and heart disease as well as an increased overall risk of death from any cause. But finding a link is not the same as proving one thing actually causes the other.

Dr Peter Katzmarzyk and Prof I-Min Lee who carried out the review stress that their estimates are theoretical. But given that the adults in their research spent, on average, half of their days sitting “engaged in sedentary pursuits”, the findings could provide an important public health warning.

On the average, how many hours do you spend sitting in a day? Do you agree with this study that sitting all day makes you unhealthy?

Source: BBC News

Image: Red Orbit

Sitting Too Much May Decrease Longevity

New research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that people who spend a lot of time sitting may be up to 40% more likely to die from any cause, compared to people who don’t sit as long.

Compared to people who spent less than four hours per day sitting, the odds of dying were:

  • 15% higher for people who sat for at least eight hours
  • 40% higher for people who sat for 11 or more hours a day

“Our findings add to the mounting evidence that public health programs should focus not just on increasing population physical activity levels, but also on reducing sitting time,” the researchers write.

Alpa V. Patel, PhD, has published studies on the health risks associated with too much sitting. She is an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta. “We are continuing to demonstrate time and time again in different populations that there is something real to the association between sitting time and reduced longevity.”


What’s so bad about sitting for long periods? That’s not totally clear. But exercise and movement do have a positive effect on blood fats called triglycerides and other heart risks, and improves blood pressure, Patel says. Her advice: Sit for five fewer minutes per hour. “Small changes can have a big impact,” she says.

The new study doesn’t prove that sitting killed people. It’s not clear which came first — poorer health or spending more time in a chair. Still, there is no doubt that being active is healthy. “The key is to do something you like to do, whether it’s sports, going to the gym, walking, or gardening. “If it is terribly unenjoyable, the likelihood of sustaining it is pretty low.”

Source: Web MD

Image: Alternavox