Jumping out of planes can kill you. So can base jumping, rock climbing, horse riding and parkour. That’s why sensible types like me stay home and sit, where it’s safe. Only now, it turns out that the least offensive physical activity possible, the one we engage in more than any other – at your desk, in your car, on your couch – can kill you too.
How depressing is that?
The hidden dangers of sitting were brought home to the world earlier this year. A study of more than 200,000 people published in Archives of Internal Medicine revealed that standing more can reduce your chances of dying within the next three years, even if you are already physically active. Adults who sat for 11 hours a day or more (possible, if you’re commuting for 2, sitting for 6 at the office not counting bathroom and smoke breaks, and then sitting watching TV for 3 hours or more) increased their chances of dying in the next 3 years by 40% compared to those who sat for 4 hours a day or less.
Lead author Dr Hidde van der Ploeg of the University of Sydney said that the study showed that people should avoid prolonged sitting: “Our results suggest the time people spend sitting at home, work and in traffic should be reduced by standing or walking more.”
This study is important because of its size and scope, noted the journal’s editorial, which also suggested that doctors recommend reduced sitting time.
Time to invest in a standing desk?