Science Says Sitting Will Still Kill You and Not Even Exercise Can Save You

Researchers say exercise can only minimally offset the impact of prolonged sitting on your health.

Image via Flickr user Joe Loong.

Oh, God, here we go again: “Sitting is dangerous!” “Sitting will kill you!” The anti-sitting contingent has been beating this horse dead for years now, campaigning to redesign our office spaces into chairless hellscapes and compelling us to exercise on our off-hours. Now, the anti-sitting proseletyzers come armed with a new study from some researchers who say that not even regular exercise will save you from your 9-to-5 job sitting at a desk. According to the brains over at the University of Toronto and the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, your LazyBoy lifestyle puts you at significantly greater risk for cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and type-2 diabetes.

“Our findings suggest that prolonged sedentary time, independent of physical activity, is positively associated with various deleterious health outcomes,” they write in their study published at the Annals of Internal Medicine. “These results and others reaffirm the need for greater public awareness about the hazards associated with sedentary behaviors and justify further research to explore the effectiveness of interventions designed to target sedentary time independently from, and in addition to, physical activity.”

The scientists collected data from 47 research studies of sedentary behavior. People who sit for long periods of time – from about 8 to 12 hours a day – are more likely to develop fatal or chronic health conditions as they get older. And while exercise may help offset the impact prolonged sitting has on your health, it’s still not enough to eliminate the risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle. In the end, you survived three wars, a lifetime of chain-smoking but it was your desk chair that killed you.


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