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Is sitting bad for me?
Sitting for long periods has long been linked to poor health and a higher risk of early death. But until now it’s been unclear if being active some of the day can compensate. Here at last is some good news. If you sit for long periods, either a work or at home, read on.
New research has shown that being active for about 60–75 minutes a day seems to compensate for long periods of inactivity.
A paper, published in the Lancet, pooled the results from 16 studies. People were split into 4 groups according to their level of physical activity. The data was then looked at to see if there was a relationship between the risk of death and the levels of daily physical activity, sitting or TV viewing time.
The main outcomes of the study were:
• In those with the highest levels of activity, sitting time was not associated with an increase risk of dying
• Those people with the lowest levels of physical activity still had the highest risk of dying even if they sat for less than 4 hours a day
• Watching TV for 3 hours or more per day was associated with increased risk of death even if people were moderately active. Only those in the most active group had a lower risk.
• Death from all causes was significantly increased in people who watched TV for 5 hours or more per day.
Overall this study shows that being physically active for about 60–75 min per day seems to eliminate the increased risk of death associated with high sitting time. However, the same level of activity only reduced but did not remove the increased risk of death associated with excess TV viewing time.