It’s hard to know what to believe when it comes to health. Just when you think you’ve got things in balance–eating reasonably well, working out regularly, and spending some well-deserved patio time, new information comes along to rain on your parade.
A recent study by the American Cancer Society showed that people who sit 6 or more hours a day have a higher risk of death than those who move around most of the day, regardless of physical activity level. This is from a press release announcing the results:
“Women who reported more than six hours per day of sitting were 37 percent more likely to die during the time period studied than those who sat fewer than 3 hours a day.”
Are they telling me my co-worker, who has run 50 marathons and competes in triathlon competitions but works at a desk 8 (or more) hours a day is at greater risk of death than a supermarket cashier who gets little exercise? Apparently so. Pardon my French, but what the hell?
Regardless of gender, those who exercised tended to live longer than those who don’t move around much. (Well, of course we knew that. We are, after all, sassy and healthy.) Dr. Patel, the lead researcher, explains why you need to get your derriere in gear:
“Prolonged time spent sitting, independent of physical activity, has been shown to have important metabolic consequences, and may influence things like triglycerides, high density lipoprotein, cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, resting blood pressure, and leptin, which are biomarkers of obesity and cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.“
This all sounds totally contradictory to me. Yes, you’ll live longer if you exercise. . .unless you sit 6 hours or more a day. Personally, I’ll take the high road and keep up my exercise regimen. I still believe it will help prolong my life, and even if it doesn’t, it will help me live better for the time that I do have left. If nothing else, it helps alleviate the stress of those days in front of the computer!
You can read the study here if you want to slog through all the technical info, http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/172/4/419.abstract, or simply read the press release, which normal humans can mostly understand. http://pressroom.cancer.org/index.php?s=43&item=257
Be sure to stand up while you’re reading!