If you are reading this while sitting down, you might want to stand up for moment.A new editorial published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that people who sit still for prolonged periods of time — such as desk workers or coach potatoes — have a higher risk of disease than those who move a muscle every now and then in a non-exercise manner, such as walking up the stairs to grab a cup of coffee.
Prolonged sitting promotes a lack of whole-body muscle movement, which the Swedish-based researchers say is the more correct way to define sedentary behavior. Many people mistakenly believe the term “sedentary” refers to people who do not exercise. But the research team proposes that sedentary behavior is instead a distinct class of behaviors, unrelated to a lack of exercise, that boost bad health. Behaviors can include habits like TV watching. For example, recent evidence has shown that sitting in front of the TV for hours on end can raise your risk of early death from heart disease. A woman’s risk of metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes and heart disease, jumps 26% for every extra hour she sits in front of the TV, according to one cited study. Whole-body muscular inactivity associated with prolonged sitting has also been strongly linked to obesity and even certain types of cancer.