Everyone knows that being a couch potato is unhealthy, but being a chair tomato (okay, we made that up) can be just as bad, according to a veritable avalanche of studies in the past three years. Sitting too much increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases and—here’s the real news—this is true even in people who exercise regularly. Here are just three recent studies.
- Women who are sedentary (sitting or resting) for more than 11 hours a day have a 12 percent higher risk of premature death than those who are sedentary for four hours or less, according to a study of 93,000 postmenopausal women from the Women’s Health Initiative, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The researchers controlled for physical function, fitness level, and overall health, suggesting that even those who exercise regularly are at increased risk if they sit a lot.
- In people over 60, each additional daily hour spent in sedentary behavior is associated with an increased risk of not being able to carry out daily activities, regardless of the amount of moderate or vigorous exercise they reported or their overall health, according to a nationwide study of 2,286 people, in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health.
- People who reported that they sit more than eight hours a day are less likely to report excellent overall health and quality of life than those who said they sit less than four hours a day, according to a study of 195,000 Australians (ages 45 to 106), in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. It found that physical activity level was most strongly linked to good health, but that longer sedentary time modestly reduced the benefit at all levels of activity.
Read more about the perils of sitting here.