Sit Less, Live Longer
Jul 19th, 2012
A new study published in bmj.com (The British medical Journal) led by Peter Katzmarzyk, epidemiology professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La suggests that sitting for a long time may reduce a person’s life expectancy by two years.
Sitting for long periods increases your risk for cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.
This new finding supports earlier studies suggesting that a sedentary lifestyle leads to a lot of serious diseases.
“Try to stand as much as you can,” Dr. Katzmarzyk said. “Typically when you’re on the telephone you can stand with a speaker phone. Instead of emailing someone in the office, just get up and go talk to them.”
“Sedentary behavior is something we need to take note of beyond telling people to get 30 minutes of activity a day,” said Katzmarzyk. If a person walks for thirty minutes a day everyday but sits on the couch watching TV for three hours, they might still end up having cardiovascular diseases.
The study analyzed data from various studies like the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data from the 2009-2010 survey for sitting and the 2005-2006 study for TV viewing involving about 167,000 respondents.
Researchers put together data from previous studies about life expectancy, tv viewing and inactivity.They also studied data from CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) on how much time is spent sitting and watching tv.
Respondents of the NHANES study included adults 18 years old and above. The study estimates the mortality of babies and not the mortality of adults. It estimated about how long a baby may live and not how long grown up adults will live.
Reducing the number of hours spent being sedentary increases life expectancy by 1.4 years. When we’re just sitting down our blood sugar rises. As Katzmarzyk puts it “When you’re sitting and completely inactive, this is when you run into trouble managing blood glucose.”
So how about people with desk jobs? Just get up on your feet as often as you can. Take frequent short breaks just to stretch your legs. Come up with excuses to take a walk. Volunteer to bring documents to a colleague’s cubicle; go to the restroom as often as you can; take the stairs instead of the elevator.
When you’re watching tv at home, try standing instead of sitting down. Stand up while talking on the phone. Whenever you can, walk more and drive less. Park farther. This way you can live longer, lose some calories and minimize your carbon footprint.
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