Study: Sitting for Too Long May Shorten Your Life

Add this to the depressing (and growing) pile of research on why office work is bad for you.

Guys, I feel like a broken record. Remember earlier month when I scared the bejesus out of you with that infographic about how your desk job is killing you? And then the day before that, when another Be Well Philly writer posted about how being sedentary is harmful to your health? Unfortunately, I have more to add to that conversation: A study out this week found that sitting for too long might take a serious toll on your lifespan. Sigh.

The study comes from an Australian research team which looked at self-reported data from over 200,000 people ages 45 and up. They found that those who sat for 11 or more hours a day were 40 percent (!!) more likely to die within the next three years, regardless of their exercise or activity level otherwise.

There’s more: Those who sat between eight and 11 hours a day—you know, your typical workday—saw their likelihood of early death increase by 15 percent compared with those who spent fewer than four hours a day sitting.

Writes HealthDay:

Inactive participants who sat the most had double the risk of dying within three years compared to active people who sat least, [study author Hidde] van der Ploeg said, and among physically inactive adults, those who sat the most had nearly one-third higher odds of dying than those who sat least.

In the words of Liz Lemon: blerg.

The real take-home here is that because many of us have to sit for so long each day just to do our jobs—and, obviously, work isn’t optional—we must make better use of our outside-of-work time by standing, walking and moving around as much as possible. That means no more four-hour-long Law and Order: SVU marathons between work and bed.

Come to think of it, that might be the real travesty here.