Whether you’re an office worker or a Netflix watcher – there are a number of significant health problems associated with spending too much time on your behind.
But new research has found that keeping fit can help offset some of the unhealthy effects of staying sedentary.
A study published in BMC Medicine analysed data from nearly 400,000 people, comparing their reported levels of activity to time spent sitting. The researchers also measured their grip strength, which is a simple indicator of physical fitness. They found that people who had the weakest grips were 31 per cent more likely to die during the study’s five year follow up for every two hours they spent in front of a screen, compared to those with a stronger grip who spent a similar amount of time sedentary. The former were also had a 21 percent higher risk of developing heart disease and a 14 percent higher risk of getting cancer.
"Our study shows that the risks associated with sedentary behaviour are not the same for everyone; individuals with low physical activity experience the greatest adverse effects,” the study’s lead author Carlos Celis-Morales said.
"This has potential implications for public health guidance as it suggests that specifically targeting people with low fitness and strength for interventions to reduce the time they spend sitting down may be an effective approach."
But that doesn’t mean your daily F45 sesh is an excuse to go HAM on getting horizontal, the risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle are still significant.
Research has also found that regardless of how much moderate to vigorous exercise people did, those who took more breaks from sitting throughout the day had slimmer waists, lower BMIs and healthier blood fat and blood sugar levels compared to those who sat most.
Experts advise that you couple your regular workouts with something called NEAT – non exercise activity thermogenesis. This involves low-impact movements – like cooking, gardening, or walking around the office – for 10 minutes every waking hour. Cup of tea from the kitchen, anyone?