September 14, 2017

Too much sitting can lead to early death, study finds

Sitting behind a desk all day can be mind-numbing, but the dangers of too much sitting go far beyond boredom.

According to a new study, a sedentary lifestyle – even if you exercise regularly – can have life-shortening repercussions. 

To observe sitting time and death rates of middle-aged and elderly adults, researchers from Columbia University used pre-existing health data from an older study about stroke risk to mine data for the first empirical studies about sitting and the risk of death. 

The previous study included health information for thousands of African-American and Caucasian men and women ages 45 and older. Among those participants, 8,000 wore accelerometers, which monitor how often a person sits or moves.

The data from those accelerometers were cross-checked with mortality data about the participants, and about 5 percent of them had died within the four-year follow-up period.

The results showed, of course, a correlation between sitting and mortality. The longer sitters had the highest threat of early death.

Even if you steadfastly obey your 10,000 daily step goals, sitting for long stretches of time, even longer than 30 minutes, can be hazardous, whether you’re at work or in the throes of passion with Netflix.

For now, the study only shows the link between sitting and mortality, so future studies are needed to solidify this correlation and fully understand it.

Read more about the study and its methodology at the Annals of Internal Medicine.