Leisure-time sitting may be hazardous to your health

By Tom Nordlie • Published: October 20th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Everybody knows that too much sitting around can have serious health consequences.

When people are inactive, it raises their chances of developing heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

But is it possible that lots of sitting can be a bad thing all by itself, even for people who are physically active?

Yes, according to an article in The American Journal of Epidemiology.

This may come as a shock to joggers and weekend athletes who enjoy curling up with a good book or following televised sports.

In the study, researchers queried about one-hundred-twenty-three-thousand men and women, ages fifty to seventy-four.

Participants described the amount of leisure time they spent on physical activities and sitting.

Afterward, researchers tracked them for up to fourteen years.

During the follow-up, about nineteen-thousand participants died.

Statistical analysis showed that people who spent more time sitting had greater risk of death, regardless of their physical activity levels.

Overall, women who spent more than six hours per day sitting during leisure time had a forty percent greater death rate than those who sat less than three hours a day.

And men who spent more than six hours seated during leisure time had a twenty percent higher death rate than men who sat less than three hours.

So, the take-home message here is obvious.

Even if you exercise regularly, it’s a good idea to minimize the time you spend parked on the couch or in front of the computer.

And if that means listening to the big game while you trim the hedge or keeping one eye on the T-V while washing dishes, well, so much the better.

You might find that this kind of multitasking not only benefits your health but improves the harmony in your household, too.