We all know that inactivity is bad for us. Now, according to an Australian study, sitting actually subtracts time from
your life expectancy.
The study actually linked watching TV and lower life expectancy, but watching TV is typically a form of inactivity. The study found that after age 25, for every hour you watch TV or sit, you lose an average of 21.8 minutes from your life.
So, let’s do the math here. If you work in an office setting where you sit for most of an eight-hour workday, you lose about two hours of life expectancy. After a week, that’s 14 hours, and after a month, that’s two whole days! After a year of sitting, you would lose 24 days of life expectancy. These numbers are rounded, but that’s a sobering thought.
The moral of the story is to sit less. If you work in an office setting, request a stand-up desk. If a standing desk isn’t an option, consider doing what a columnist for The New York Times did last April: Every 20 minutes, she would stand up and either read while standing or walk around while on the phone.
You can access the abstract of the Australian study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
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Victoria Pitcher is an Online Editorial Assistant at Ogden Publications, the parent company of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Find her on Google+.