There is now plenty of evidence that prolonged sitting increases diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Some office workers who also sit when commuting can sit for up to 13 hours/day, and data shows that sitting kills more people than smoking.
In an analysis of 26,483 (14,209 women) healthy Norwegians, more than 7 hours of sitting/day increased the risk for heart disease by 35% with every additional hour of increasing the risk by 5%. The study was recently published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (MSSE).
Read about the study in ABC News Australia: Sitting kills but being fit might help keep you safe: new study
The new important finding from the study was that it was only people who had increased fitness that were protected against the health risks of sitting. Being physically active without improving fitness had no protection against sitting.
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Therefore the message is that people who sit for long periods of time need to exercise and improve their fitness. This is done by completing aerobic exercise at a moderate intensity or higher. Physical activity that has no effect on fitness will do little to protect against the harms of sitting.
Read also: Why do some people get fitter than others?
Javaid Nauman, Researcher at CERG