With today’s technical advances, most of our lives today consist of moving from one sitting position to another. Does squeezing in some exercise enough to counter all of that sitting? According to an article in the New York Times published 1/12/11, it appears not. Citing a recent study published in the American Journal of Cardiology, the excessive amount of leisure time sitting in front of a screen can have such a negative impact on one’s health that physical activity doesn’t produce much benefit.
The study followed over 4500 Scottish men for a little more than fours years, and found that those who spent two or more leisure hours sitting in front of a TV or computer, were twice as likely to die of a heart attack or other cardio event than those who sat less. Those who spent four hours or more were 50 % more likely to die from any cause than those who sat less. It didn’t matter whether the men were physically active during the week-exercise didn’t mitigate the effects of prolonged sitting.
This isn’t the first study to show the adverse health effects of prolonged leisure time sitting. A 2009 study of children showed that those who watched TV for one and one-half to five hours per day had higher blood pressure than those who watched less.
Another study in adults found that when they cut their TV viewing time in half, they burned more calories per day than those who watched, on average, four to five hours a day.
People in the US and UK spend, on average, three to four hours a day watching TV. That’s 20% of total waking time for most people. Is that really how we want to spend our lives?
Bottom line is this (and it’s one of my mantras): sitting is the root of all fitness evil. WE’ve got to keep moving before we lose that option.
Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.