If you are confused on how bad sitting for long periods of time each day is, join the crowd. Several recent studies on the topic have produced different results.
It is well established that sitting for long periods contributes to poor health and may raise the risk of dying from all causes. The question is whether this effect can be offset by regular exercise. In recent weeks, a study found that even an hour of exercise each day may not reduce the risks of diseases associated with an otherwise sedentary lifestyle.
Now, another new study says that prolonged sitting may not be damaging to your health if you engage in regular exercise. The study says that regular exercise may be able help reduce the health risks associated with prolonged sitting, which include stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. It was conducted at the University of Exeter in England and was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
The researchers analyzed data from more than 3,700 men and more than 1,400 women who were part of a long-term study of British government employees who did not have cardiovascular disease when they enrolled. Between 1997 and 1999, participants were asked how many hours each week they spent sitting, and specifically how many hours they spent sitting while at work, during leisure time, while watching television, and during leisure while not watching television. They were also asked how much time they spent moderate to vigorous activity each day, and about the time spent walking each day. The study noted that the participants in this study exercised more than average.
The study found that the total amount of time spent sitting, the amount of time spent sitting at work, while watching television, or in other leisure pursuits, was not associated with an increased risk of mortality from all causes. This was true even after factors such as age, gender, smoking status, alcohol use, diet, and general health were taken into account.
This lack of a link between prolonged sitting and all-cause mortality may be due to the protective effect of daily moderate to vigorous exercise, the researchers said.