Sitting for a prolonged period of time can lead to disabilities: Study

Sitting for a prolonged period of time can lead to disabilities: Study

Sitting may be harmful to your health.

Most of us know that sitting for a prolonged period of time is bad for our health, but new research has put this issue in the spotlight. In fact, some researchers have gone so far as to say that “sitting is the new smoking.”

A new study shows that for adults ages 60 and over, prolonged periods of sitting can increase the risk of disability. What might come as a surprise to some is that even active adults who engaged in moderate or vigorous physical activity several times per week are at an increased risk of disability.

The study, which was recently published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, concluded that for every sedentary hour during the day, those aged 60 or over were at a 46 percent higher risk of having a disability in typical skills such as getting around the house with ease or feeding themselves.

Researchers from Northwestern’s Feinberg Medical School, Rush University Medical Center, Harvard School of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took part in the study, and found that individuals who replace just 30 minutes of sedentary time with the same amount of time doing something physical, such as a light activity, could improve their overall health.

The researchers explained that, “A sedentary lifestyle is associated with a variety of poor health outcomes, including increased incidence for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mortality.”

Many adults may have believed that they had already completed the necessary physical activity requirements, which the government suggests is 150 minutes per week of moderate activity.

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 2003 to 2005, researchers found that study participants spent an average of nine hours sedentary during a 14 hour day. Approximately 2,286 adults ages 60 or over participated in the study.

Of those participants who were sedentary for at least nine hours during the day, 3.6 percent reported disabilities in daily living activities.

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