This simple activity is actually just as bad for you as having a serious disability and is equal to the dangers of never doing any physical activity. What is this new deadly risk factor for disease? Sitting.
It’s widely known that Americans spend a large portion of their day being sedentary—just consider the eight hours you spend sitting at your office job during the day, the commute time you spend sitting in a car, bus, or subway, and the time when you get home and need to relax after your long day. That’s the case for about 55 million Americans. This extreme amount of sedentary time is killing us.
In fact, for those above the age of 60, every extra hour you sit is correlated with doubling the risk of becoming disabled—even if you do try to combat that extreme sedentary time with exercise!
The study, published in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health, found that sedentary activity for long periods of time is a big risk factor for disability and disease. According to the study, a sedentary 60-plus woman sitting for 13 hours a day, compared to a 60-plus woman sitting for 12 hours a day, has double the risk of becoming disabled.
The study measured the sedentary time and physical activity levels of 2,200 adults above the age of 60. They wore acceloremeters to measure their activity levels, which is a better indicator than simply using people’s estimations of their own activity levels, which are often highly exaggerated.
“It means older adults need to reduce the amount of time they spend sitting, whether in front of the TV or at the computer, regardless of their participation in moderate or vigorous activity,” said Dorothy Dunlop, lead author of the study.
The fact that being sedentary is linked to disability is not surprising, but reinforces the need to reduce the amount of time we spend being sedentary. This doesn’t just mean exercising a few times a week—to reduce the amount of time you spend being sedentary. Every day, especially as you get older, you must make it a habit to do more activities standing up and walking instead of sitting. While techniques like parking in a farther spot from the mall or restaurant may sound trivial, these types of small changes make a big difference in lowering your sedentary time and disability risk.
“Dangers of…sitting? Regardless of exercise, too much sedentary time is linked to major disability after 60,” ScienceDaily web site; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140219124728.htm