We were always told that sitting down for long periods of time could be hazardous to your health but new research suggests that could all be a load of bollocks.
The study from the University of Exeter and University College London has challenged those NHS guidelines and claims that sitting down is not actually associated with an increased risk of dying.
And this was no short-term study either – researchers followed over 5,000 participants for an incredible 16 years, so we’re quite happy to take these results on board!
Those taking part in the study provided information on various measures of activity, including total sitting time, work sitting time, leisure sitting time, sitting time while watching TV, daily time spent walking, and total exercise.
The person’s age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, general health, smoking, alcohol consumption and diet were all also taken into account.
The study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, showed that over the 16-year follow-up period none of the sitting measures actually influenced mortality risk. Great news!
On the heels of these findings, the authors instead encourage a focus on overall physical activity, rather than using sitting time as a barometer for health risks.
Dr Melvyn Hillsdon from the department of sport and health sciences at the University of Exeter said:
Our study overturns current thinking on the health risks of sitting and indicates that the problem lies in the absence of movement rather than the time spent sitting itself. Any stationary posture where energy expenditure is low may be detrimental to health, be it sitting or standing.
The results cast doubt on the benefits of sit-stand work stations, which employers are increasingly providing to promote healthy working environments.
Lead author Dr Richard Pulsford added:
Our findings suggest that reducing sitting time might not be quite as important for mortality risk as previously publicised and that encouraging people to be more active should still be a public health priority.
And, I think we can all agree that this is great news. For me sat down writing this article and for you sat down reading it. All we have to do is go for a run once in a while and we’ll totally be fine, right?
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