Many people believe they must engage in strenuous physical activity to achieve optimal fitness and prevent illness.
While exercise is certainly important to health, new research provides a different perspective about the negative effects of sitting for extended periods and how we can make small changes to potentially increase our natural lifespan.
Researchers gleaning data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) have published the result of a study in the journal BMJ Open, that explains how restricting the amount of time spent seated every day to fewer than three hours might boost the life expectancy of US adults by an extra two years. Additionally, they have found that cutting down TV viewing to fewer than two hours every day might extend life by almost 1.4 years.
In the past, studies have implicated sitting for extended periods and watching too much television with illnesses including diabetes, heart disease and stroke. This study is the first to directly link the sedentary lifestyle habits of more than 167,000 people with relative risk of developing or dying from a chronic illness. Researchers pooled data from five relevant studies to arrive at their startling conclusion.
Walking or standing a few minutes each hour may help extend lifespan in aging adults
The scientists pooled all relevant data to develop a statistical tool known as a population attributable fraction (PAF). The PAF is an estimate of the theoretical effects of a risk factor on a population, rather than an individual marker, necessary to calculate the number of deaths associated with time spent sitting down. The researchers determined the PAFs for deaths from all causes linked to sitting time and TV viewing were 27 percent and 19 percent, respectively.
By extrapolating the PAF statistics, the study team determined that cutting the amount of time spent sitting down every day to under three hours would add an extra two years to life expectancy. In a similar manner, restricting time spent watching TV to under two hours daily would extend life expectancy by an extra 1.38 years.
These results are significant because many aging adults spend extended periods of time sitting or lying down as they watch television. Standing or walking for several minutes each hour may provide protection against vascular and metabolic dysfunction, the underlying processes behind the explosion in new cases of cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes in our aging population.
Please speak to a health care professional regarding what is best for you, this article is not intended as a diagnosis for any condition, or to take the place professional medical care.The information provided is for informational purposes only, you are responsible to use your own discretion. We wish you the best of health.
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