How to (Literally) Stand Up to the Health Risks of Sitting

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Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Sitting is an activity that is engrained in our culture, and it is having detrimental effects on health. Studies are saying this is not a new phenomenon; for several years, medical professionals have been touting the benefits of incorporating a little more activity into daily life to be at the height of healthiness. Want to combat obesity, increase heart health, and lower your blood pressure? Get up, and get moving; exercise, take a walk, or do anything was the common wisdom. Increasingly though, research is indicating that when you’re sitting from 9 to 5, the exercise you partake in pre- or post-work isn’t decreasing those health risks.

In 2012, sitting was labeled an independent risk factor, and an association was observed between time spent seated and mortality rates. This reinforced previous research about sedentary lifestyles and mortality. In 2014, a study published in Journal of Physical Activity and Health added to this message. It found that moderate or vigorous activity on a daily basis does not mitigate the health dangers of spending most of the day in a sedentary manner. Prolonged sitting was associated with an increased risk of developing a disability in activities of daily living among the elderly. Those include everyday processes, such as eating, moving about, or brushing your hair.

“The relationship between sedentary behavior and poor health outcomes may reflect an exchange of sedentary time for moderate [to] vigorous physical activity or sedentary behavior may be an independent risk factor,” the study states. “This distinction is important because even a large daily dose of moderate-vigorous activity may not be sufficient to offset the adverse effects of a sedentary lifestyle.”

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