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You can cancel out harmful effects of sitting if you walk home instead, new study suggests

You can cancel out harmful effects of sitting down all day if you walk home instead, new study suggests

  • Researchers tracked how much time participants spent sitting and how much physical activity they did per week
  • Those who sat more than six hours a day had the highest risk of dying from any cause or from cardiovascular disease
  • But even meeting the lowest requirement for physical activity, just 150 mins per week, completely eliminated the risk of dying from any cause 
  • Even among those who sat less than four hours a day, their risk was much higher if they were active at all compared to doing no physcal activity

You can cancel out the harmful effects of sitting down all day if you walk to work and back home instead, a new study suggests.

Researchers found those who sat for more than six hours a day and were inactive had the highest risk of dying from any cause or from cardiovascular disease. 

But even meeting the lowest requirement for physical activity completely eliminated the risk of dying from any cause even among those who sat for most of the day.

The team, from the University of Sydney in Australia, says their findings confirm previous studies and are calling for doctors and healthcare professionals to encourage their patients to substitute sitting with brisk walking.

A new study from the University of Sydney in Australia has found that those who sat more than six hours a day had the highest risk of dying from any cause or from cardiovascular disease (file image) 

For the study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the team recruited nearly 150,000 Australian men and women aged 45 years and older.

They were asked to complete a questionnaire about how many hours a day they  spent sitting, standing and sleeping as well how much time they spent walking or engaging in physical activity.

Sitting time was broken into four categories: less than four hours, four to less than six hours, six to eight hours and more than eight hours. 

Participants met the Australian weekly physical activity recommendations if they exercised moderately 150 to 300 minutes per week or exercised vigorously 75 to 150 minutes per week. 

Researchers followed up with the participants for about nine years.

They found that those who sat for more than six hours, and did not meet the physical activity recommendations, faced the highest risk of dying from any cause or from cardiovascular disease.

Participants who met even the lowest requirement for physical activity eliminated the risk of dying from any cause, unless they sat for more than eight hours a day.   

Even among those who sat less than four hours a day, their risk was much higher if they me the physical activity recommendations than those who were inactive.

‘Our results support continued efforts to promote physical activity in those segments of the population that sit a lot for whatever reason,’ said lead author Dr Emmanuel Stamatakis, a professor of physical activity, lifestyle and population health at the University of Sydney in Australia.

‘In the absence of some physical activity, merely reducing sitting times may be insufficient for better health.’

In an accompanying editorial, Dr Charles Matthews, physical activity epidemiologist and investigator at the National Cancer Institute, says the findings show there are several ways to eliminate the mortality risks linked to sitting all day.   

‘It is more important than ever to attend to our daily physical activity and sitting time to try to optimize both behaviors for better health,’ he wrote. 

‘To this end, the report from Stamatakis and colleagues provide new and actionable insights for translating their findings to clinical and public health practice. ‘ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk