Sitting too long without movement may kill you fast

Another Study Ties Sitting to Mortality Risk

"If we are to sit for prolonged periods at a time - more than 30 minutes at a time, and for many hours per day - more than 12 hours per day, our risk of death is high", Alter said.

The positive news: People who sat for less than 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk of early death.

Writing in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the group also that total sedentary time, more than the average duration of individual bouts of sedentary time.

The researchers studied nearly 8000 Americans aged 45 and over to examine the relationship between sedentary behaviour and death for any reason (what researchers call "all-cause mortality"). "This would be like telling someone to just "exercise" without telling them how", Diaz told CNN. "If you have a job or lifestyle where you have to sit for prolonged periods, our findings suggest that taking a movement break every half hour could reduce your risk of death".

Experts say that what matters is the length of time between each burst of activity when someone is mostly sedentary.

Steinbaum, who was not involved in the study, said moving around every 30 minutes is recommended.

The study also wasn't a controlled experiment created to prove how or whether sedentary time directly causes premature death.

"Outcomes of this study indicate what other studies have found and that is the more sedentary we are, the greater the health risk", agreed Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, of Washington University in St Louis.

'This study adds to the growing literature on how unsafe long periods of sitting are for our health, and underscores a growing awareness among clinicians and researchers that sitting really is the new smoking, ' said study co-author Dr Monika Safford, chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine and the John J. Kuiper Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine.

He and his co-researchers tracked for an average of four years 7,985 black and white adult participants, age 45 or older, who had signed on to participate in the REGARDS project.

Accelerometers on their hips monitored their activity as well as inactivity during the span of a day.

The results showed that those who got up and moved every half hour or less were less likely to be at risk of death than those that stayed sedentary for longer. All forms of physically inactivity was recorded and reported by volunteers who took part in the studies and hence there were often considerable chances of inaccuracies in the data obtained.

Dr. Keith Diaz wrote an email saying that, "Some of the best available evidence suggests that excessive sedentary time can cause abnormally high levels of sugar and, over time, could lead to diabetes. One of the reasons for this is related to our skeletal muscles, which require fuel such as glucose to operate and take in glucose from our blood", Diaz said in an email. It can't prove that sitting causes the risk, due to the study design.

Peter Katzmarzyk, PhD, of Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, commented that using accelerometry to measure sedentary behavior was a major study strength.

'But previous studies have suggested that sedentary patterns, whether an individual accrues sedentary time through several short stretches or fewer long stretches of time, may have an impact on health'. Each of these behaviors is important and has an independent effect on cardiovascular disease and mortality. - says Dr. JoAnn Manson, one of the study's authors, and chief of preventive medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.

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