Take a seat, it won’t kill you

Sitting too long won't increase risk of dying: Study

We all know by now that physical activity is one of the most important components for a healthy lifestyle.

The warnings against sitting too long are frequently issued by  health and fitness professionals, along with reminders to get a dose of daily exercise. While sedentary habits are definitely not the healthiest, will they result in your imminent death?

According to a recent report by the International Journal of Epidemiology, the answer is no.

The report, published on Oct. 9, found that sitting has no association with an increased risk of dying.

Following up on 16 years of health information from more than 5,000 participants, the study examined four different sitting behaviours, as well as total sitting with the risk of all-cause mortality.

Participants included 3,720 men and 1,412 women from the Whitehall cohort in the UK. The data included on average how many hours per week the subjects spent sitting at work, commuting and home.

Also recorded were individual health factors including, overall self-rated health, smoking status, alcohol consumption, diet quality, body mass index and physical well-being.

While the report might come as a relief for those who cannot find the time to exercise regularly, some fitness professionals are not convinced.

“It’s unfortunate that most people won’t get past the headline on this one,” says Toronto-based fitness coach Greg Carver.

“Reports such as this are interesting in that they can point out patterns, or the lack thereof, as in this case, but they often aren’t conclusive.”

In recent years, mobile fitness apps have become quite popular, with most smartphones now sold with pedometers already installed.

Carver says he doesn’t think the recent report will stop people from downloading fitness apps.

“People won’t stop using fitness devices and apps because of one limited study. I believe that the public has grown weary of some of these contradictory studies,” he says.

“We’ve known for years that exercise is not just good for you, it will extend your life. Even without the research, it’s quite obvious. Rates of obesity, diabetes and other metabolic conditions are skyrocketing — all of which have an affect on mortality rates. Most of these conditions can be controlled through lifestyle changes.”