Maybe We Should Just Lie Down

Eating right and exercise mean longer life, right? Whoa, not so fast.

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?

57-year-old Mary Creel has run more than 50 marathons and competes in triathlons.

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!

Be well.

Donna

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3 Responses to Maybe We Should Just Lie Down

  1. JoAnn Weatherly says:

    Maybe we should petition NY to get us those desk-tread-mill thingys. Then we could walk while we work! 🙂

  2. Laurl says:

    Donna, It appears that the research was based not on office workers, or jobs that sit predominately, but the proverbial “couch potato” as the research study was called, “Leisure Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Total Mortality in a Prospective Cohort of US Adults.” Unless your time spent in the office IS your leisure time : )

  3. benneseed says:

    Excellent point, Laurl. I guess I need to read further into the study to determine how they differentiated leisure time sitting from sitting at work. But if the study group were non-working people who sit 6 hours a day, then I don’t see much difference. On your duff is on your duff no matter where it happens!

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