There is clear scientific evidence that regular moderate-to-vigorous exercise is associated with a myriad of health and fitness benefits, and a longer, more vibrant life. However, if you spend the rest of your time sitting, four hours of Crossfit or another intense workout each week may not be enough.
Scientists are studying the effects of long periods of sedentary behavior (sitting) on overall health and weight, independent of whether someone works out or not.
Questions they’re addressing:
- Can we impact the epidemic of chronic disease in this country by getting people to simply move around more over the course of a day?
- Do regular workouts offset the negative effects of a whole day of sitting?
Findings from recent studies:
A study by Katzmarzyk, in the journal “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise” found that sedentary people who reported standing “almost all of the time” had a 33 percent lower risk of mortality over a 12-year period compared to those who sat most of the day.
An Australian study with 222,000 adults reported that individuals who sat less than 4 hours/day lowered their mortality risk by 15 percent when compared with people who sat 8 or more hours/day.
Matthews and colleagues (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2012) found that individuals who watched seven or more hours of television/day had higher mortality rates, and this increase was not fully mitigated by regular exercise.