by Doyin Jaiyesimi
According to a study which has been published in the BMJ Open online journal, sitting down for more than three hours can shave life expectancy by two years. It does not matter if you are a physically active person or you abstain from dangerous habits like smoking; the effect is still the same.
The study which analyzed five studies involving about 167,000 people over a period 4 to 14 years stated that watching TV for more than two hours a day makes the problem even worse. The findings support an emerging body of research that point to a number of dangers associated with leading a sedentary lifestyle. In a similar study conducted by Australian researchers two years ago, they found that people who watched TV for more than four hours a day were 46% more likely to die of any cause than those who spent less than two hours watching TV. A grimmer picture was painted for people who spend more than four hours a day watching TV; they were 80% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease.
Some of the researchers have attempted to explain the reason for these findings. The major problem is prolonged inactivity. “Sedentary behavior is something we need to take note of beyond telling people to get 30 minutes of activity a day,” said Peter T. Katzmarzyk, one of the lead researchers for the study. If you get the recommended 30 minutes of activity a day, you will still be at risk if you end up spending most of the other 20 hours a day sitting. When you’re sitting and completely inactive, ‘you run into trouble managing blood glucose,’ a researcher said.
It may be difficult for people to accept the findings of this study as it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to find time to get on their feet, especially if they work desk jobs. Dr Katzmarzyk however advices people to try to stand as much as they can and also take walks; although this should only replace sitting, not exercising. Stretching your muscles frequently is also recommended.