Sit More, Live Less?

Sitting-at-workWe knew that sitting is the new smoking… might it also be tied to shorter life span?

The American Journal of Preventative Medicine published a new study titled “All-Cause Mortality Attributable to Sitting Time.” The outline: “Recent studies have shown that sitting time is associated with increased risk of all-cause mortality, independent of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Less is known about the population-attributable fraction for all-cause mortality associated with sitting time, and the gains in life expectancy related to the elimination of this risk factor.”

The conclusion delivers important information for office workers (and others) who sit too much: Indeed, it could be connected to shorter lifespans.

States the study: “Assuming that the effect of sitting time on all-cause mortality risk is independent of physical activity, reducing sitting time plays an important role in active lifestyle promotion, which is an important aspect of premature mortality prevention worldwide.”

But there’s good news in that there’s a simple way to address the potential issue: Get up and move. In writing about the AJPM study, the New York Times reports: “Sitting too much may increase the risk of dying prematurely, while replacing sitting time with just standing or moderate physical activity could counteract the effect.”

The NYT reports that researchers “estimated mean sitting time across countries at 4.7 hours a day. Reducing that time by 50 percent, they calculated, would result in a 2.3 percent decline in all-cause mortality.”

And finding ways to become more active in the workplace don’t have to be complicated.

As the lead author, Leandro Rezende, a doctoral candidate at the University of São Paulo School of Medicine, is reported by the NYT as saying: “There are things we can do. Stand up, and go have a drink of water instead of keeping the water bottle at your desk. Or just stand up every so often. Standing alone increases your energy expenditure.”