Whether being sedentary is the next smoking or fine as long as you exercise is the yo-yo hot topic in health and fitness. Yet another study has now come out saying that sitting for long periods of time can double your risk or mortality later in life.
Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the study looked at the waking inactivity of almost 8,000 participants over the age of 45. They found that almost 77% of their waking hours were spent sedentary — about 12 hours per day.
In a follow up period, they found that participants who spent long stretches of time being sedentary (60-90 minutes) had a twofold mortality risk than those who spent the same amount of time sedentary, but in shorter bursts.
In particular, participants who kept most of their sitting time to less than 30 minutes at each stretch had the lowest risk of death.
“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,” said lead investigator Dr Keith Diaz. “This one behaviour change could reduce your risk of death, although we don’t yet know precisely how much activity is optimal.”
So is sitting “the new smoking?” Maybe. Maybe not. All we know for sure is that being sedentary is not good for our bodies.
As for how much sitting is too much, the scientists weigh in on that too.