Nowadays the most common activity is sitting, with the majority of people sitting for eight or more hours a day. Even those who find the time to exercise tend to spend the rest of the day in a chair. Past studies clearly demonstrate the health consequences of being sedentary, including a higher chance of developing diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions. All of which can occur even if the subject exercises regularly. However, two recent studies are a little more upbeat. The first determined that sitting less can slow the aging process within cells and the second found that standing up, even if standing still, can be beneficial.
The first study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, examined a group of 68 overweight men and women, half of which were advised to begin a moderate exercise program and sit less, the other half were told to continue life normally but try to lose weight and be healthy. After 6 months, scientists found that those who decreased the time they spent sitting, rather than increasing exercise, had improved the health of their genes. Per Sjögren, profession of public health at Uppsala University in Sweden said,
It’s most likely that sitting time was predominantly replaced with low-intensity activities.”
The second study, lead by Peter Katzmarzyk, professor of public health at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Lousiana, noted the amount of time men and women reported standing on most days over the course of a decade and crosschecked the data with death records. He found that mortality rates declined at high levels of standing.
Nowadays, it is a challenge for the majority of people to find the time to be active. But if individuals make the effort to make simple changes in their day, such as to walk rather than drive, or make an effort to stand during the day, the health benefits will follow.
Read more here- “Sit Less, Live Longer?” (Gretchen Reynolds, The NY Times)
Olivia is a graduate of Villanova University where she studied Economics and History, minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. She also has experience working with federal legislatures on health care policy, women's issues, and Internet safety.