Sitting Proves Harmful, Even for Exercisers

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Photo Credit: Phil Whitehouse

Photo Credit: Phil Whitehouse


An evening on the couch can feel well deserved after a long run but according to the latest research, prolonged hours of sitting can have negative effects, even for those who workout.

Sitting for long hours has been linked to increased risk of chronic disease, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Although the occurrences of these diseases are higher in the inactive, the risks are still there for those who exercise regularly.

“More than one half of an average person’s day is spent being sedentary — sitting, watching television, or working at a computer,” say co-author Dr. David Alter, Associate Professor of Medicine at Toronto University. “Our study finds that despite the health-enhancing benefits of physical activity, this alone may not be enough to reduce the risk for disease.”

The age of technology has made it easier for Americans to rest their rumps. And while there seems to be more acknowledging the importance of physical activity, according to experts like Atler, there’s still a need for improvement.

“Avoiding sedentary time and getting regular exercise are both important for improving your health and survival,” he says. “It is not good enough to exercise for thirty minutes a day and be sedentary for twenty-three and half hours.” He recommends reducing sedentary time by two to three hours in a twelve hour day. Although this may seem difficult, he says that taking time to stand or walk around for a few minutes every half hour can add up.

Takeaway Tip: Find sneaky (but simple) ways to squeeze extra movement into each hour. Stand while taking calls or stroll to lunch instead of ordering in.

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