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Large Study Shows Prolonged Sitting Can Be Deadly

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People who spend too much time sitting down are putting their lives in jeopardy, research suggests. The results, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, are based on a large Australian study, which serve as a warning to couch potatoes everywhere that inactivity can be deadly.

Australian researchers led by Hidde P. van der Ploeg collected data from questionnaires presented to 222,497 adults age 45 and older who participated in the 45 and Up Study. This study, which gathered mortality information from a registry of births, marriages and deaths in South Wales, Australia between 1 February 2006 and 31 December 2010, was used to help van der Ploeg's team to learn about the relationship between death and the amount of time people spent sitting down.

They discovered that 5405 participants died during 2.8 years of follow up. Deaths most frequently occurred among people who sat for 11 hours or more, and was lowest among people who spent less than 4 hours per day sitting down.

The Australian researchers ascertained that long bouts of physical inactivity significantly increased mortality risk and recommended that people spend more time participating in physical exercise.


Physical Inactivity Can Be Deadly

van der Ploeg's findings are consistent with what many other health scientists have been saying for some time: sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy. Physical inactivity puts you at risk for obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain forms of cancer, and even mental illness.

Last November, scientists speaking at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), reportedly found a link between physical inactivity and cancer. Their research showed that people who didn't spend much time exercising had higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) circulating in their blood. CRP, an inflammatory biochemical, is commonly associated with cancer.

Less active people tend to burn less fat because their metabolism is slow. Over time this will lead to significant weight gain which leads to more inflammatory chemicals being released into the bloodstream which in turn can lead to increased risk of stroke. Moreover, inflammation aggravates joint pain and can damage the heart. 

Spending even a few minutes per day exercising can tremendously improve your health. One recent study, which involved 416,17 volunteers, showed that working out for a mere 15 minutes per day extended the volunteers' life expectancy.

Just 15 minutes of exercise per day can improve your health. That's even less time than the World Health Organization's recommendation of 30 minutes of exercise per day.

In light of so much evidence on the relationship between exercise and health, if you take away anything from this article it should be this: spending too much time sitting down could be very hazardous to your health.


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Article References 

van der Ploeg, H., Chey, T., Korda, R., Banks, E., & Bauman, A. (2012). Sitting Time and All-Cause Mortality Risk in 222 497 Australian Adults Archives of Internal Medicine, 172 (6), 494-500 DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2011.2174

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