Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Sitting for too long is killing you: study

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Need motivation to get up from your desk? A newly published study led by the University of Sydney has found that too much sitting can shorten your life.

In the study, adults who sat 11 or more hours per day had a 40 per cent increased risk of dying in the next three years compared with those who sat for fewer than four hours a day.

Researchers took into account their physical activity, weight, and health status. The study of more than 200,000 people was published last week in Archives of Internal Medicine.

"These results have important public health implications," said study lead author Dr. Hidde van der Ploeg, a senior research fellow at the University of Sydney's School of Public Health.

"That morning walk or trip to the gym is still necessary, but it's also important to avoid prolonged sitting. Our results suggest the time people spend sitting at home, at work and in traffic should be reduced by standing or walking more," he said.

The new study adds to growing scientific research suggesting that sitting can raise your risks for a host of problems, including obesity and diabetes -- this is especially true if you spend time outside of work in front of the TV or in your car. In one study, researchers found that people who spend more than two hours per day of leisure time watching television or sitting in front of a screen face double the risk of heart disease.

If you're deskbound by day, try moving as much as possible during office hours. Stand up when taking phone calls, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and walking to see a colleague rather than emailing. Take micro-breaks every 20 to 30 minutes: Get up, move around, or at least move your shoulders and take deep breaths to relieve muscle tension.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 9, 2012 D1

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