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Why sitting for longer time can be dangerous for health?

by Vaishali Sharma

A new research from Simon Fraser University lends weight to the idea that prolonged sitting is bad for your health.

A international study involving over 100,000 adults from 21 countries found that people who sat for six to eight hours a day had a 12-13 percent higher risk of early death and heart disease, while those who sat for more than eight hours a day had a dismal 20% increase. The research, conducted by Scott Lear of Simon Fraser University and Wei Li of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing, was published today in the journal Jama Cardiology.

“The overarching message here is to minimize how much you sit,” says Lear. “If you must sit, getting in more exercise during other times of the day will offset that risk.”

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Not surprising, those who sat the most and were the least active had the highest risk — up to 50 per cent — while those who sat the most but were also the most active had a substantially lower risk of about 17 per cent.

“For those sitting more than four hours a day, replacing a half-hour of sitting with exercise reduced the risk by two per cent,” Lear notes. “With only one in four Canadians meeting the activity guidelines there’s a real opportunity here for people to increase their activity and reduce their chances of early death and heart disease.”

The study discovered a specific link in lower-income nations, prompting researchers to believe that this might be because sitting in higher-income countries is often associated with greater socioeconomic position and higher-paying occupations.

Benefits of less sitting more movement

Clinicians should emphasise less sitting and more movement since it is a low-cost intervention with significant advantages, according to Lear.

However, although professionals must spread the word about the need of balancing sitting with movement, individuals must also review their habits and take their health seriously, according to Lear.

“Our study found that a combination of sitting and inactivity accounted for 8.8 per cent of all deaths, which is close to the contribution of smoking (10.6 per cent in Lear and Li’s study). “It’s a global problem that has a remarkably simple fix. Scheduling time to get out of that chair is a great start.”

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