Sitting for a long period daily has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes and dementia. Now, a new study shows that people who sit for a prolonged time during their workday face a nearly 35% increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. However, researchers have found that the risk can be reversed by engaging in about 15 to 30 minutes of exercise every day.
The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, found that sitting all day can have serious impacts on people's health such as increased risk of early death and heart problems. These risks can be mitigated including regular breaks and additional physical activity in the schedule, Medical News Today reported.
For the study, the researchers examined 481,688 participants over 20 years, focusing on their health, occupational sitting, physical activity, and other lifestyle habits. They found that a sedentary work life, which refers to spending most of their time sitting, led to a 16% increase in the risk of mortality from all causes compared to those who had an active lifestyle, Study Finds revealed.
Notably, people who would alternate between sitting and standing or moving at work did not have an increased risk of death. Furthermore, people with sedentary jobs who exercised regularly showed a lower mortality risk. The main finding of the study was that 15 to 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity could offset the negative health impacts of sedentary work life.
This study highlights that prolonged occupational sitting is linked to increased health risks. Hence, researchers suggest that workplaces should invest in alternative solutions such as standing desks, employer-provided gym memberships, and workplace areas designated for physical activity.
“These findings suggest that reducing prolonged sitting in the workplace and/or increasing the volume or intensity of daily physical activity may be beneficial in mitigating the elevated risks of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease associated with prolonged occupational sitting,” the researchers wrote in the study paper.
Previous studies have also shown that any kind of physical activity is better than sitting for a long period. For instance, a study published in the journal European Journal of Preventive Cardiology in August 2023, showed that walking about 4,000 steps can significantly reduce the risk of dying from any cause. In another study, published in European Heart Journal in November 2023, researchers suggested that replacing sitting with a few minutes of any activity, including sleeping, can improve heart health