Limit Sitting To Increase Life Expectancy

By now, you've probably already heard that sitting all day is bad for you, but exactly how many hours of sitting may be too much? New research says reducing the amount of sitting to less than three hours a day can increase life expectancy by two years.

Photo remixed from an original by S.Pytel (Shutterstock).

Researchers from Louisiana State University and Harvard Medical School analysed data from five studies of nearly 167,000 people over 4-14 years. Participants in the National Health and Nutrition Survey reported their sedentary habits, including how many hours they spend sitting doing things like using the computer and watching TV. The researchers eliminated data for patients with existing diseases (who might be more prone to sitting a lot) and then folded in mortality risk into their meta-analysis.

The results indicate that life expectancy drops by two years when people sit for more than three hours a day, and another 1.4 years for watching TV more than two hours a day. Researchers Peter T Katzmarzyk and I-Min Lee conclude that reducing the amount of time you sit, including TV viewing time, can potentially increase life expectancy.

While that conclusion isn't really new news (a previous Australian study linked TV watching with reduced life expectancy), spending less than three hours in a chair is a new goal. It's clear that the fewer hours you spend sitting, the better (even if you do exercise regularly).

So consider this just another friendly reminder to adopt a standing desk either full time or part time, or try other solutions to counteract the damages of sitting too long.

Sedentary behaviour and life expectancy in the USA: a cause-deleted life table analysis [BMJ via BBC News]


    Hasn't this subject been done to death between Giz and LH over the last year or so? Plus there was an article not that long ago that said that standing was bad too? All said and done though, I built a standing desk way back when they first posted the original story and have been standing ever since. Can't sit now, it annoys me.

      +1 to that Timmahh. I've been standing at work for around 3 months now and i'm not looking back.

      Way do you do in meetings?


    I hear lying down is better than standing AND sitting

    Sit down, stand up, sleep too long, sleep too little, do eat this or don't eat that, it's all going to add / take off "x" amount of years. I say go for gold and do a report that take all these factors in to account to see exactly what you will end up with in the end...most likely being hit by a bus.

    Most people spend the vast majority in one of three basic positions (sitting, standing, or lying down). Yoga is great to add variety to this threesome and get all areas active again

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