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How does sitting affect our risk of premature death?
Do you mostly work sitting or maybe you spend a large part of your free time on the sofa? If this applies to you, then you should get up and exercise more often, even if it's just a short walk to the office. Physicians have now found that the time people spend sitting down should be interrupted or replaced, if possible, with time in motion to protect themselves from premature death.
Columbia University researchers found that replacing sitting time with more exercise can protect people from the risk of premature death. The researchers published the results of their study in the English-language journal "American Journal of Epidemiology".
Adequate exercise during the day is important for health
Even short times in which people move bring health benefits, the experts explain. A short walk is an advantage, says study author Dr. Keith Diaz from Columbia University. Periods of exercise can last as little as one minute, it's more about getting enough exercise or activity throughout the day, the doctor adds. For example, you can walk to a colleague at work to ask them questions rather than contacting them over the phone. In this way you reduce the time of sitting and increase your activity.
Data from almost 8,000 people were evaluated for the study
In their study, the scientists analyzed the data from nearly 8,000 adults in the United States aged 45 years or older. They had participated in a study on the risk of stroke. Each of the participants wore a so-called activity tracker for a period of between four and seven days. Overall, the participants spent an average of 694 minutes or 11.5 hours sitting during their waking hours each day.
Already 30 minutes more exercise a day had a big impact
After considering factors such as age, gender, race, smoking and a variety of potential health problems, the team found that replacing seats with exercise reduces the risk of death. Replacing 30 minutes of your sitting time with 30 minutes of low-intensity activity throughout the day reduces the risk of premature death by about 17 percent. Replacing sitting with 30-minute activities such as running or cycling reduced the risk of premature death by as much as 35 percent. However, these advantages were only found in subjects who were not particularly active at the beginning.
Were there any restrictions on the exam?
The limitations of the latest study include that it was not examined whether the results also apply to younger people, that movement data were only recorded for a short period of time, that health data were only collected at a specific point in time, and that the participants were only medically monitored for a short period of time were. Nevertheless, sitting is harmful and increases your risk of premature death, regardless of whether you sit briefly or spend a long time sitting, explains Dr. Diaz. (as)