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Sitting will kill you, even if you exercise

Published:Wednesday | February 11, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Sit way less and stand or walk a way lot more. That's the recommendation from a new research that is warning that too much sitting can actually be fatal.

The study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that sedentary behaviour increases our chances of getting a disease or a condition that will kill us prematurely, even if we exercise.

After analysing 47 studies of sedentary behaviour, researchers from Toronto, Canada, have come to these conclusions. The studies showed sedentary behaviour can lead to death from cardiovascular issues and cancer, as well as cause chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes.

Their data have revealed that despite the fact that you may exercise regularly, the sitting you typically do in a day still outweighs the benefit you get from exercise. However, the more you exercise, the lower the impact of sedentary behaviour.

Risk Factor

According to the World Health Organisation, physical inactivity has been identified as the fourth-leading risk factor for death for people all around the world. Prolonged sitting, meaning sitting for eight to 12 hours or more a day, increased your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 90 per cent.

"It is actually automatic for persons to take a seat anywhere they go. You just took a long drive, of course, sitting for the entire time, but as soon as you get to the destination, you take a seat. And interestingly, if you stand for just a few minutes, someone is offering you a seat," noted physiotherapist Donald Hendricks.

"When we drive, we sit; at work, we sit; at home, we sit. We spend more time on our rump than anything else. The best thing you can do for your own good is stand for a while or walk about a bit."

How can we spend less time sitting?

He said it is also highly recommended that during the day, while at work, get up from your desk at least every half-hour and stand for a few minutes or walk about for a while. While watching TV get up during commercial breaks and walk about.

"If it is any at all possible, never sit for more than an hour at a time. We sit way too much, thinking we are doing ourselves some good when, in fact, we are doing a lot of harm to our bodies. Our bodies were made for movement, and on a regular basis," he said.

The study said it was important to be conscious of sitting, which will help you to programme yourself to get up and move about more. Retrain the mind to stop seeing sitting as a normal thing to do, gradually reducing your sitting time each week.

"Not because the room is full of chairs, doesn't mean you have to use them," he said.