Excessive sitting, especially when done in prolonged, uninterrupted bouts, may increase the risk of premature death, even in people who exercise a lot. But frequent breaks may mitigate the negative effects, according to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine in October 2017.
Researchers tracked the sedentary behavior of 8,000 Americans ages 45 and older using a hip-mounted accelerometer for a week. They found that people averaged 12.3 sedentary hours per 16-hour waking day. During a four-year follow-up, 340 participants died. Greater daily sedentary time and longer average sedentary bouts were both associated with higher mortality rates, regardless of age, sex, weight, cardiovascular risk factors, and exercise habits.
“Our findings suggest that total sedentary time and prolonged, uninterrupted sedentary bouts are jointly associated with increased risk for death and that interrupting sedentary time every 30 minutes may protect against the health risks incurred by prolonged sedentariness,” the study concluded.
Also see Sitting Not So Pretty.