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Is lengthy sitting dangerous?

As technology advances, more workers are becoming electronically chained to their desks for several hours per day. Such sedentary work life is taking its toll, according to new research confirming earlier studies indicating lengthy sitting at work can lead to an early grave. Even if we take time during the week to exercise regularly.

The evidence seems to indicate that no matter our race, gender, sex, or other demographic factors, the results are the same. Long periods of uninterrupted sitting is just not healthy.

 Study findings

Leader of the largest study of its kind thus far, which was conducted at Columbia’s Exercise Testing Laboratory, Dr. Keith Diaz said what surprised him most about his team’s findings. It wasn’t the accumulated hours of sitting throughout the day, but that people sitting uninterrupted for far shorter periods. Even 60 to 90 minutes lead to shorter lifespans on average.

“This finding I think will help shift our understanding about the risks of sitting by showing that to reduce the harmful consequences of sitting one needs to both decrease the overall time they spend sitting and take frequent movement breaks when they do with”.

So here is the deal: besides exercising, you also should be mindful of moving (and not being sedentary) throughout the day.

Participants in the study recorded an average of 12.3 hours of sitting and sedentary time during a 16-hour waking day. In order to stave off the deadly effects of sitting for so long, the research team recommended movement breaks every 30 minutes throughout the day. They also recommended that businesses seeking to intervene and implement more breaks throughout the day should use the 30-minute limit as their guide.

“Both the total volume of sedentary time and its accrual in prolonged, uninterrupted bouts are associated with all-cause mortality. Physical activity guidelines should target reducing and interrupting sedentary time to reduce the risk for death,” the research team concluded in their published study.

 How to improve it?

There are some ways for you to actually get a bit of exercise in while you’re at work, mostly sitting, and you’re taking one of those 30-minute breaks. Consider:

  • If you work in an office building, walk up and down a few flights of steps.
  • Do a few sets of 10 pushups, 20 squats, etc.
  • Perform sets of 20 jumping jacks.
  • If you work someplace that has a company gym, definitely use it on your longer breaks, maybe even over lunch and if your company doesn’t have a gym then go to a gym nearby.

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