Sit Less Live Longer
July 28, 2010 – Women and men who sat more and had little physical activity have a higher mortality risk: 94 and 48 percent respectively compared to those that sat less and were more active.
A fascinating new study delving into the co-relation of long sitting periods and risk of death found that being a couch potato can kill you, literally. According to researchers, movement is absolutely vital for the health of the human beings, and in fact, the body will not live nearly as long without it.
From an article by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, “The more time spent lolling on the chair or sitting at the office desk, the shorter is going to be the lifespan.”
American Cancer Society researchers tracked the activity levels and death rates in more than 123,000 healthy men and women for 13 years. They found women who spend over six hours a day sitting during leisure time (watching TV, playing games, surfing the web, reading) were 40 percent more likely to die sooner than women who spend less than three hours sitting. Men who spend more time sitting have a 20 percent increased risk of death. Essentially, those who sit less, live a longer life than those who don’t.
Several factors come into play when figuring out “why” sitting may take years off your life. Some of this has to do with the ease of snacking, mindless consumption for the most part, while sitting. Dr. Barbara Chamberlin of NMSU shared her study of this related to sitting and snacking at the 2010 Games For Health Conference.
Some plausible explanations, according to researchers, when a person is up and about, everything in the body is moving, the blood, the oxygen, the nutrients, the cellular respiration, the nervous system, and so on.
On the other hand, excess time spent sitting suppresses the immune system, which in turn, elevates the risk of cancer and other disease.
In addition, long sitting periods hampers the flow of blood through the veins to the heart which could result in dangerous blood clots, causing in turn, the blood pressure and cholesterol levels to leap.
Lead author of the study, Dr. Alpa Patel, an epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society said, “Several factors could explain the positive association between time spent sitting and higher all-cause death rates.
“Prolonged time spent sitting, independent of physical activity, has been shown to have important metabolic consequences, and may influence things like triglycerides, high density lipoprotein, cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, resting blood pressure, and leptin, which are biomarkers of obesity and cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.”
The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests, “public health guidelines should be refined to include reducing time spent sitting in addition to promoting physical activity.”
So as you keep your brain stimulated with your smart phones, video games and gadgets, wireless apps and paperless books – walk around or stand up while playing your favorite game. You may add years to your life.