Want to know one of the biggest predictors of chronic disease? Are you sitting down? Well, you shouldn’t be. According to researcher at the University of Western Sydney (Australia) and Kansas State University (United States), men who spend more than four hour per day sitting down are more likely to suffer from cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure than men who spend less time on their duffs.
The study looked at more than 63,000 men 45-64, who reported whether or not they had chronic disease as well as how long they spent sitting every day (8 hours). “The rates of chronic diseases reported by the participants exponentially increased in proportion with the amount of time the participants spent sitting down,” said Emma George, a PhD researcher from the UWS School of Science and Health who worked on the study. In other words, the more time you spend sitting, the greater your chance of developing a chronic disease. The study was published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.
What’s especially interesting—and troubling—is that the booty factor was associated with disease even when factoring out other risk factors such as age, body weight (BMI), and the amount of physical activity subjects reported. So even if you’re getting a lot of exercise, spending a lot of time sitting down can be dangerous. “Despite your levels of physical activity, the more time you spend sitting the less time your body has to stay active and expend energy,” said George, who added that her study results should be a wake-up call for office workers, truck drivers, and anyone else who spends a lot of time sitting (presumably writers—even those who write about health—are not immune).
The bottom line? Never miss an opportunity to get up and walk around. Your health is too important to sit on.