How many hours a day do you sit at your job? How much healthier would you be if you could stand, or walk while you work? A new study says you could live longer. The British Medical Journal’s BMJ Open has published research that finds sitting for more than three hours a day can trim your life expectancy by two years, even if you are active and don’t smoke.
Msnbc.com reports the study “adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that sitting itself is deadly.”
The research “elevates sedentary behavior as an important risk factor, similar to smoking and obesity,” said (study researcher Peter) Katzmarzyk (of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La.)
Other studies have found our culture of sitting may be responsible for about 173,000 cases of cancer each year.
Because U.S. adults spend, on average, between 4.5 and five hours a day sitting down, a significant shift in the population’s behavior would be needed to have an effect on life expectancy, Katzmarzyk said. This might be achieved through changes at the workplace, such as the use of standing desks, and by watching less TV, he said.
Katzmarzyk tells the Wall Street Journal that we should just stand as much as we can for our health.
However, Dr. Katzmarzyk added, standing shouldn’t be an alternative to exercising, but an alternative to sitting. “Several studies show that when you’re sitting, your leg muscles are completely inactive,” he said. “When you’re sitting and completely inactive, this is when you run into trouble managing blood glucose.”