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October 25, 2012

Why Sitting May Shorten Your Life

Volumes of studies examine the relationship between a sedentary lifestyle and its multiple adverse effects on health. Prolonged sitting, especially in front of a television, has received special attention over the years, has been blamed for reduced exercise capacity, obesity, and even back pain. Now researchers are saying it shortens your life.

And the findings were sobering: Every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes. By comparison, smoking a single cigarette reduces life expectancy by about 11 minutes, the authors said.

What surprised me, however, was the theory study that authors propose to explain why this happens. Muscles at rest, especially the large muscles of the lower body, do not contract. As a result, the body creates an excess of fuel in the form of blood sugar, put sedentary individuals at increased risk of diabetes and other health conditions.

So how much TV watching is acceptable. Well, gone are the all-day TV watching marathons. Two hours of TV per day is considered an acceptable level of inactivity. But watch out, if you work a desk job, you need to build in activity to get you out of your chair.

When Dr. Wilmot asked a group of volunteers recently to reduce their daily sitting time by an hour, “they came up with lots of ideas,” she says, including “putting the garbage bin on the other side of the office, standing during coffee breaks and telephone calls, having standing meetings, standing on the bus.”

Posted by linda at October 25, 2012 5:41 AM

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