By Laura Shin
Posting in Cancer
If you are a desk dweller or a couch potato, scientists have some news for you: Get up. It will add years onto your life.
And now, a new analysis of several studies on long periods of sedentary behavior has concluded that sitting for more than three hours a day can actually take two years off your life.
And that's even if you exercise regularly and refrain from bad habits like smoking.
But there's more bad news.
They've also determined that watching TV for more than two hours a day cuts your life expectancy by another 1.4 years.
Details of the study
The researchers, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, a professor of population science at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., and I-Min Lee of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, analyzed five studies of nearly 167,000 people over four to 14 years.
They used the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to get data on sitting habits between 2009 and 2010 and to obtain data on TV watching from 2005 to 2006 (the most recent data available).
They eliminated data on patients who had existing diseases since the ill were more likely to be sitting more than usual due to health reasons.
However, one drawback to the analysis was that it relied on self-reporting, and people tend to underestimate how much they sit.
The results were published in the journal BMJ Open.
How to beat the sedentary lifestyle
Combating the effects of sitting a lot isn't as easy as throwing in a workout here and there.
Dr. Katzmarzyk said that the detrimental effects of sitting affect even people who follow the guideline of getting 30 minutes of physical activity a day. He told The Wall Street Journal:
"We have people who can meet that guideline. However, if you're sedentary or sitting the other 20 hours a day, you're still going to be at risk for that."
A big problem is the type of lifestyle associated with a desk job, where people can sit for hours a day. For such workers, Dr. Katzmarzyk suggested trying to stand as often as possible: "Typically when you're on the telephone you can stand with speaker phone. Instead of emailing someone in the office, just get up and go talk to them."
photo: RogueSun Media/Flickr
Jul 10, 2012
I feel left out. I'm a confirmed adrenalin junkie. I fly precision patterns in my Pitts Special, Have 3 boats, the slowest of which will run 117mph, not bad for a 16 footer. I race Open Expert Cross Country on my KTM 450, I can't drive 55, I'm at the Dojo 3 nights a week most weeks, I move when I play lead guitar on my Les Paul that wieghs about 20 pounds, I like to smoke weed with or without Willie, I have a wife, a girlfriend, and a little something on the side, they all know each other and enjoy shopping together(I don't feel left out, I hate shopping). I was a door gunner in the Nam. I took every recreational drug known to man. I like picking fights with bullys. I play on my computer sometimes. I own 2 companies and employ 44 people. I stay up for days at a time, I smoke like a lost freight train, I drink about 8 beers a year...that's it for my alky intake, I'm way past middle age, in fact you could say I'm a senior citizen but middle age people seem old to me, my youngest kid is in his late 40's and wonders why 30 somethings want to hang out with me(he's a lot more mature than I am, that's why he runs my companies) I love heavy Rock N Roll and will go anywhere to see Joe Satriani, or the Thrill Kill Kult, I try to make all the gatherings of ICP, in character, and still love George Jones' song "The One I Loved Back Then" (talk about range). My doctor says I'm a freak of nature(she knows I'm a freak) and will probably outlive her (she's 32), I have waist length hair and none of it is gray, I sleep less than 5 hours a night when I sleep. I love horror movies, hate golf (anybody wanna buy a real nice set of left handed Clubs? Or send me a sob story and if I like it you can have em) Lee Trevino's guy built my woods, and Lee signed em, they ain't for sale. I play bit parts sometimes, I do a great psychotic biker type, I was once body slammed by Andre The Giant(the sweetest guy you could hope to meet...RIP) at the Sportatorium in Dallas, and I still get bored...but not bored enough to play poker, wander around Vegas, or go to titty bars. I collect stuff, mostly guns, antique fishing gear(I don't like fishing) and 60's underground comix.When I was 20 my (then) doctor told me I'd never live to see 30, he died 30 something years ago. My blood pressure is 120 over 70, I wiegh 205 and stand 6'1, and don't need no stinkin viagra,My vices? What d'ya got? And I would let Laura Shin take me to dinner.
First of all, thank you for raising awareness of the "sitting disease." Most people do not realize the ill effects sitting has on your body as a whole. Let's face it, sitting is the new smoking. UpDesk is the perfect solution. It's a height-adjustable desk that allows the user to smoothly transition up or down with a touch of a button (or manual crank). If you're concerned with the price, do some researching. You'll find we're competitively priced and offer more features than the other guys. We would love to earn your business and recommendation! Help us raise the standard... one desk at a time. Kamron Kunce Director of Social Media at UpDesk (Comment typed while standing up)
I work in Surgery, we stand for 8 and up hours a day. Will there be a research study that shows, while standing, but not moving from the sterile field shortens our lives?
It's not anything new, either, we already new that a sedentary lifestyle is bad for you. The advice is sound, though, move around as much as you can. I would add that even when you can't get up, there are exercises you can do while you're sitting. That will help, too - even fidgeting helps.
CORRELATION DOES NOT IMPLY CAUSATION! None of these studies can say that sitting causes a shorter lifespan. All they can do is show that people who sit more tend to have shorter lifespans. Maybe it's because they have more stressful jobs. Maybe they get paid more, so they can afford more "luxuries" (fattier foods, cigars, booze) and die quicker. The point is, the studies don't even to pretend to show causation, but the media jumps right on top of it and makes the leap. I expect better of a site that purports to be "smart".
"one drawback to the analysis was that it relied on self-reporting, and people tend to underestimate how much they sit. (So the harmful effects of sitting are likely to be worse!)" Harmul effects are NOT as bad since the nocive effect would match a longer (unconfessed) seated period.
Like most of you I sit at a desk while at work. I also sit while commuting, and sit for meals and at home. Cubbie, Mouseboy, et. al... It's not just the drooling and senility that you miss. Once you turn 50 or so, it really catches up with you. I'm 57, not drooling on myself or forgeting my name, and still gainfully employed in high tech. I have to work hard to keep from gettting overweight, diabetes, low blood pressure, poor circulation, etc. I try to walk at least a half mile on my smoke breaks (I don't smoke), plus I walk on weekends. That, however, is just maintaining, which means regression in the long run. To actually counteract the effects of sitting all day requires not only 30 minutes of excercise 3-5 times a week, but changes in your diet, too. Less saturatied fat, fewer carbohydrates, less meat, poultry, and dairy, and more fruits and vegetables. Guys, your overall health starts deteriorating after 40 years old, not in your 70s. If you want to be healthy in your 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond, get off your butt, and eat a healthful diet. My dad is not 82, and is in better shape than when he was my age. He went from 6'1" and 270 pounds to 190 pounds, and is very active, i.e. not drooling on himself and forgetting names.
Kind of agree with mouseboy...I can't remember the comedians name that I heard say it, but was talking about some bad habit and it knocking the last couple of years off your life...'so I miss drooling on myself and not being able to remember my name???' Was it Dennis Leary talking about smoking? Off to google/youtube see if i can find it...
Laura Shin wrote: "However, one drawback to the analysis was that it relied on self-reporting, and people tend to underestimate how much they sit. (So the harmful effects of sitting are likely to be worse!)" I think that's backwards. Suppose you honestly sit for three hours a day. The people who reported that they sat three hours a day (but really sat for 5 or 6) lost two years of life. You sit for less time than the people studied, so will lose fewer years of life. That means the harmful effects of sitting are likely to be less than reported, not greater.
If you asked people in their forties or younger whether they would prefer to live an extra two years in their late seventies BUT watch two hours less TV per day, every day, from now until death, I bet most people would choose entertainment over life extension. Sometimes it's not about the quantity of something but the quality for example. I'd rather have a meal in a restaurant that costs the equivalent of five fast-food meals than five fast-food meals :o)
Hard to believe that they could find anyone who doesn't sit at least 3 hours/day total to compare all the others with. And if sitting is so bad, what about lying down for 6-8 hours every night? It must be even worse!
My uncle is a retired Orthopedic Surgeon, he worked into his late 70's, now he drives his "old" McLaren in "classic" type competition under several different sanctioning organizations, he is an aviator and has a lovely old Stearman Bi-plane he says he is leaving to me in his will, but I'll be straight up with you, he might outlive me, he seems to get younger every time I see him. He was a youthful 70's guy, stays in shape, and takes chances...so I know which side of the family I got that from. He did surgery from his mid 30's till retirement, it didn't seem to wear on him, he moved to Northern California because he got tired of seeing old friends die off, he is remarried (he was widowed at 63) to a very nice lady who is also an aviator, she has an assortment of Cessna aircraft, her late husband was a Cessna company exec.. She flies precision patterns in her 150 and performs at air shows. Her and Uncle Frank seem like they were made for each other. Sorry dude, yer gonna live forever.
I agree, Imarks. If people under-report the amount of sitting they do, then the bad health consequences that were observed are the result of *more* hours of sitting, not less.
How many writers would employ bombastic circumlocution to find a way to claim Imarks was not only wrong, but was probably an illegitimate child, and a nose picker who wet the bed until age 27, and quite probably molests downs syndrome kids in his time off from his job at the Circle K where he looks through all the "mens" magazines till they are dog eared and the pages are stuck together? Laura you win the Classy Writer Award for your elegant handling of a mis-stated conclusion. Wanna arm wrestle? PS I have it on good authority that Imarks does none of those things, and further that I should be ashamed for suggesting as much even in jest. But I'm not, because I know Imarks can take a joke, or hire a hit man, and he MIGHT be Jigsaw! EEEEK!