Researchers say that leading a sedentary lifestyle can shorten your lifespan, but short and frequent bursts of activity can mitigate these effects.
If you feel like your desk job is killing you, that's because it kind of is.
Sitting for long periods of time may be the new smoking. Scientists have been telling us to be more active for a long time, so this shouldn't come as a surprise. This, however, is bad news for those with desk jobs, or those who aren't as active as they should be. Interestingly, it doesn't matter how many hours you put in at the gym after work or during the weekends. The amount of time you continuously spend sitting seems to have more of an impact on health and overall longevity.
Luckily, there's a surprisingly simple solution to this. You simply have to break up the time you spend sitting. Researchers say that getting up and moving around every 30 minutes can reduce the harmful effects of sitting around for too much time.
How active do we have to be?
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian analyzed the data of almost 8,000 people over the age of 45 who wore activity monitors for a week. After this, the researchers tracked the participants' health outcomes over the next four years. According to the findings, there's a correlation between a sedentary lifestyle and dying early of any cause. The findings also tell us that on average, the participants spent more than 75% of their waking hours inactive. Thus, out of the 16 hours they spent awake, they spent over 12 hours sitting. The researchers also report that on average, each period of inactivity lasted 11.4 minutes.
Of course, the researchers also took factors like age, sex, blood pressure, smoking habits, and education into account. Even with these factors in the mix, the findings were clear.
The researchers also found that those who spent 13.2 hours inactive were 2.6 times more likely to die early than those who spent less than 11.5 hours inactive. Those who spent an average of 12.6 minutes inactive were also twice as likely to die early than those who spent less than 7.7 minutes inactive.
There's another reason for you to get up from your desk.
These findings clear up a question that the researchers had. They were wondering if it's the total amount of inactive time that's harmful, or if it's the duration of inactivity. It seems, however, that both can be bad for us.
So how do we strike a balance? The findings also showed that those who stayed inactive for fewer than 30 minutes had the lowest risk of early death. Unsurprisingly, the longer and more intense the bouts of activity are, the better. If you have a desk job, or you spend most of your waking hours sitting, try to make sure that you get up every 30 minutes and move around as much as you can.
Scientists and health professionals have been saying for years that a sedentary lifestyle isn't healthy. However, it can be difficult for some to be more active than they are. Hopefully, this new research can serve as a guide for these individuals to mitigate the effects of inactivity.
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