A recent Canadian study shows that people sitting ‘on their rears’ all day long have an up to 20 percent higher risk of death from any cause, regardless if they exercise or not.
The research was based on data collected by more than 40 international studies. According to those studies, people leading sedentary lives have a considerably higher risk of developing diabetes, cancer, cancer-related death, and heart disease, on the long run. The risk still persists if the person is involved in regular daily exercise.
Dr. David Alter, lead author of the Canadian study and cardiology researcher at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, said than more than 50 percent of an average person’s day is spent sitting, watching TV, or working at a computer.
“Our study finds that despite the health-enhancing benefits of physical activity, this alone may not be enough to reduce the risk for disease,”
Dr. Alter added.
The study also revealed that prolonged sitting was linked to 20 percent increased risk of developing heart disease, cancer, or death from one of the two diseases. Also, sedentary people had a nearly 90 percent increased risk of developing diabetes, regardless if they did workout or not.
A previous study had disclosed why a sedentary behavior had been linked with increased risk of diabetes. Researchers explained that a sedentary person’s pancreas tends to produce more insulin than it normally does because idle muscles do not respond as readily to insulin, so the pancreas would produce even more insulin. Increased insulin production was also linked with greater risk for colon and breast cancers.
Dr. Alter said that people needed to both exercise on a regular basis AND avoid sedentary life. He also explained that 30 to 60 minutes of workout were not enough to fend off the harms a sedentary behavior involved.
However, the Canadian researchers couldn’t tell how many hours of sitting led to an increased mortality rate. They claimed they needed extra research to be conducted on that particular issue. Still, people who were sitting on their bottoms all day long and lacked any physical exercise had an increased risk of death or disease.
Dr. Alter underscored that public health campaigns were designed to get people exercise more without any reference to the harms of prolonged sitting, which include various cancers and heart disease.
“We need to get sedentary behavior on our radar and start talking about that, not just exercise,”
Dr. Alter explained.
Canadian researchers also recommend that sedentary people should get up and walk for a few minutes every 30 minutes, or at least stand during TV commercials, or watch the last 15 minutes of a TV show in fully upright position.
Image Source: Time