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Prolonged Sitting Is Not Harmful If One Is Physically Active

Spending long hours sitting is painted as an extremely unhealthy habit that is associated with a number of diseases. New findings now suggest that it is not detrimental to one’s health if one indulges in physical exercise. It is to be noted that previous studies have claimed that physical activity might not undo the harms. The paper is published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.


The study led by Dr. Richard Pulsford of the University of Exeter in the UK contradicts many other results of past research works: prolonged sitting does not account for a rise in mortality risk among people who are physically active.

Data was collected from 3,720 men and 1,412 women who were participants in a longitudinal study of British Civil Service employees, the Whitehall II cohort study; none of them suffered from heart diseases.

The participants were followed for an average of 16 years. They were asked of the number of hours per week they spent sitting and exercising.

The results showed that the total amount of time spent sitting (including sitting at work, at home, during leisure time) was not linked with the risk of all-cause mortality.

The researchers explain that daily moderate to vigorous exercise (recorded as higher than average for the participants) might provide protection to these people.

“Our study overturns current thinking on the health risks of sitting and indicates that the problem lies in the absence of movement rather than the time spent sitting itself. Any stationary posture where energy expenditure is low may be detrimental to health, be it sitting or standing,” says coauthor Dr. Melvyn Hillsdon, of the University of Exeter.


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