Don’t Sit Around for Long Period of Time – It’s Bad for Your Health
A new study led by associate research scientist in the Department of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Aspirator Center (CUMAC) Keith Diaz, suggests that sitting around for more than 12 hours per day is seriously detrimental to one’s health. It also suggests that the way in which that time is accumulated could even cause an early death.
In carrying out the study, the researchers found that those adults who sat for one or two hours at a time without any breaks had a higher mortality rate that those who sat the same amount of sedentary time, but broke it up a little. “We tend to think of sedentary behaviour as just the sheer volume of how much we sit around each day,” said Diaz. “But, previous studies have suggested that sedentary patterns — whether an individual accrues sedentary time through several short stretches or fewer long stretches of time — may have an impact on health.”
The study involved monitoring the inactivity during waking hours of 7,985 adults aged 45 and over. This took place over a period of one week. Results from the study confirmed that on average, each participant spent around 77 percent of their waking hours displaying sedentary behaviour. That’s the equivalent of over 12 hours per day.
In a follow up study, researchers found that 340 of the original participants had died. Those with various sedentary patterns and various amounts of total sedentary time had their mortality risk calculated and the results were awakening to say the least. Those who had a calculated sedentary time of more than 13 hours per day and bout of at least 60 minutes, had nearly twice as high a death risk as those with the lowest sedentary time and shortest bouts of sedentary time.
The research also revealed that those who kept their sitting bouts to less than 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk of death of all. “So if you have a job or lifestyle where you have to sit for prolonged periods of time, we suggest taking a movement break every half hour. This one behaviour change could reduce your risk of death, although we don’t yet know precisely how much activity is optimal,” Dr. Diaz commented.
“This study adds to the growing literature on how dangerous long periods of sitting are for our health, and underscores a growing awareness among clinicians and researchers that sitting really is the new smoking,” said co-author of the study and chief Division of General Internal Medicine and the John J. Kuiper Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine, and an internist at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, Monika Safford MD. “We need creative ways to ensure that we not only cut back on the total amount we sit, but also increase regular interruptions to sitting with bursts of activity.”