One of the authors of this paper, Dr E Wilmot says "that a number of important messages have emerged from the research. People don't think about sitting as being dangerous, and it's quite a change, having to think, 'how can I reduce my sitting?' rather than just 'how much exercise can I do?' We've traditionally been focused on making sure we meet the physical-activity guidelines of 30 minutes per day, but with that approach we've overlooked what we do with the other 23 and a half hours in the day. If you sit for the rest of the day, that is going to have an impact on health, and that's essentially what our meta-analysis shows,"
Wilmot and colleagues say the hazards of high levels of sitting were first highlighted in the 1950s, when a two-fold increase in the risk of a myocardial infarction was identified in London bus drivers compared with active bus conductors. But since then, the "potentially important distinction" between sedentary (sitting) and light-intensity physical activity has been "largely overlooked" in research, they observe. They add that estimates have put the time the average adult spends in sedentary pursuits at around 50% to 60% of their day
The greatest sedentary time compared with the lowest was associated with a doubling of diabetes risk, around a 2.5-fold increase in the risk of cardiovascular events , a 90% rise in risk of cardiovascular death and a 49% higher risk of all-cause mortality .
Sitting seems to have an immediate effect on how our bodies metabolise glucose. When we sit, our muscles are not used, and we quickly become more insulin resistant." Studies have shown that people who sit after eating have 24% higher glucose levels than people who walk very slowly after a meal#
- Wimot EG, Edwardson CL, Achana FA, et al. Sedentary time in adults and the association with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetologia 2012; 55:2895-2905.
If you're worried about being too sedentary and plan on embarking upon a new regime of exercise, be sure to look after your body and remember physiotherapy can help.