If you’re sitting at your desk in the middle of your eight-hour day, trying to ignore the workpile that’s ever-growing while blocking out the constant ping from your inbox, you are not alone. You may even try to seek a brief mindless escape, but instead of getting up for a walk you’re still in your office or cubicle, surfing the internet, checking your Facebook or maybe catching up on some news from one of your favourite sites.
Some would frown upon that, but there’s a new study that claims sitting for hours isn’t all that bad.
But wait — don’t jump the gun and adopt a sedentary life. Before you cancel your gym membership and trade in your runners for a pair of slippers, the study found that as long as you get some exercise, sitting all day isn’t going to kill you.
Researchers at the University of Exeter and University College in London looked at data from 5,000 participants over 16 years, and found that prolonged periods of sitting doesn’t increase the risk of an early death if you are otherwise physically active. Again: IF YOU ARE OTHERWISE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE.
Of course, this completely contradicts the belief that if you don’t stand up, stretch and even fidget, your life is in jeopardy, but the latest study claims that too much sitting isn’t devastating to our health.
Of the 3,720 men and 1,412 women who took part, everything was taken into account, including their gender, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, general health, smoking, alcohol consumption and diet, as well as the their walking and exercise habits.
They found that the group, all of whom were civil servants who used London’s public transportation, spent almost twice the amount of time walking each day than the rest of the population of the U.K. — which may be what’s working in their favour.
“Our findings suggest that reducing sitting time might not be quite as important for mortality risk as previously publicized, and encouraging people to be more active should still be a public health priority,” said lead author Richard Pulsford, a researcher in the sport and health sciences department at the University of Exeter.
The study says further research is needed but maybe, just maybe, take this news with a grain of salt. Because going for a walk never killed anyone. Sitting, on the other hand…