Not only is “sitting the new smoking,” but those who stay put for more than 12.5 hours a day have the highest death rate, according to a new study.
This sobering update comes courtesy of the Annals of Internal Medicine, and they don’t mess around. They measured the sedentary time of nearly eight-thousand adults, ages 45 and older. And what they found was not good. Over a follow-up of four years, 340 participants died.
Both the total volume of sedentary time and its accrual in prolonged, uninterrupted bouts are associated with all-cause mortality, suggestive that physical activity guidelines should target reducing and interrupting sedentary time to reduce risk for death.
Translation: move once every 30 minutes for at less a minute.
That’s according to Keith Diaz, an associate research scientist at Columbia University Medical Center. He tells Today:
“You need to still be mindful about moving throughout your day and not just think that ‘Because I exercised today, I’m done.’ Sitting in these long bouts, regardless of whether you exercised or not, still increases your risk of death.”
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And that to the already proven fact that sitting for prolonged amounts of time raises the risk of cancer in women. According to the American Cancer Society, women who spend at least 6 hours a day sitting have a 10% greater risk of getting cancer than those who do not. Specifically: multiple myeloma, ovarian cancer, and invasive breast cancer. Oddly enough, researchers found that sitting for extended periods of time did not increase cancer risk for most men in the study, which evaluated 77,462 women and 69,260 men.
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And even though your co-worker might be sold on one of those trendy “standing desks,” Diaz notes that while popular, there’s not enough evidence to suggest standing is any better for your health than sitting.
Takeaway: Go for short walks throughout your day.