Excessive sitting increases the risk of early death

Advances in technology in recent decades have removed the need and desire for people to move. A large part of the world's population is sitting for too long during the day, whether in front of the computer at work or in front of the TV at home.
Considering that the human body is designed to move, all that sitting is obviously bad for our health. A new study from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) confirmed this - and more.

A total of 5,856 people aged 63 to 99 were asked to wear an activity monitor on their hip for seven days at the start of the study. The researchers then followed them for a decade, during which time 1,733 of them died.

The researchers used artificial intelligence to determine, through the activity monitor, how long people sat, and then linked this to the risk of death. The data showed that people who sat for more than 11 hours a day had a 57% higher risk of death during the study period than participants who sat for less than nine and a half hours a day.

But regular exercise will eliminate the health risks of sitting too long, right? Not according to the UCSD study. The risk of premature death remained even with greater amounts of moderate to vigorous exercise. A 2019 study also found that greater amounts of exercise did not reverse the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke that occur from sitting too long, Science alert reports.

The conflicting findings may be explained by the fact that activity monitors were worn on the hip in the UCSD study and on the wrist in the Australian study, which may have led to different estimates of time spent sitting.
The Australian study also did not use special software to determine when participants were sitting and when they were standing, meaning that standing could be mistaken for sitting. For example, if the participant stood still for half an hour, this would be counted as half an hour of sitting. This could mean that the Australian study underestimated the amount of time people spent sitting.

Data from the UCSD study looks better and emphasizes the need to sit less. Current World Health Organization guidelines support this, recommending that adults limit time spent sitting and break up long periods of sitting.

So how much is too much?

According to the UCSD study, that's 11 hours a day. According to other research, just seven hours a day may be too much. There's also plenty of research that shows you shouldn't sit for more than 30 minutes without getting up and moving around, as this can raise blood sugar levels and blood pressure.

What can you do to avoid sitting for long periods of time?
A sit-stand desk can help if you work in an office. Or you can get up and move between work tasks or during a call. At home, you can get up during commercial breaks on TV or while the kettle is boiling. Some smart devices also alert you if you've been sitting for too long.
A 2020 study found that small bursts of arm exercise (for example, two minutes every 20 minutes) lowered blood sugar levels. As long as you're doing something that means you're not sitting still, there are health benefits. /BGNES