If you spend most of your days sitting at school, work, at a computer or stretched out on a couch at home, you may be taking up to two years off your life. It is common knowledge that a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and obesity, and can result in premature death. Many people think they can compensate for sitting around by walking, playing sports or going to the gym. Unfortunately, this might not be so. A new study just published in the journal 'Annals of Internal Medicine' suggests the effect on our longevity from sitting for long periods of time cannot be reversed through exercise. Even 60 minutes of daily exercise may not be enough.
The study is from Dr David Alter and his colleagues at Toronto University. Dr Alter and his team analysed 47 studies that tracked different groups of people, who kept notes on how long they sat down each day and how much they exercised. They found that the most sedentary groups had a 24% increased chance of dying during the course of the study than the least sedentary ones. This remained the case even though those who sat a lot also did 60 minutes of daily exercise. Dr Alter writes: "Reducing your sit-down time by 2-3 hours each day by standing up at your desk, taking frequent breaks to stretch and walk, or watching TV…on your feet may be better than an expensive, crowded, smelly gym and be just what the doctor ordered."