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Cutting Down On Sitting Effective At Boosting Longevity, Says Study

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The secret to a long life is to stand up and get moving. Scientists found a link between sitting all day to early mortality, according to a new study.

However, do not fret; having a 9-to-5 desk job is not a death sentence. The new study also revealed that replacing 30 minutes of sitting with any sort of physical activity per day can significantly reduce the risk of death.

The findings were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

How Exercise Can Save Lives

For the study, the researchers analyzed national data that involved a total of 7,999 adults aged 45 and older. All participants wore activity monitors that logged all the time they were sedentary between 2009 and 2013.

The researchers simulated the mortality benefits that each participant would get if they swapped all the time they were sedentary with physical activity. They found that by performing 30 minutes of light exercise, a person can cut their risk of dying early by as much as 17 percent.

Adding intensity to the workout can obviously increase the chances of living a long and healthy life. The study claimed that 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise decreases the odds of mortality by 35 percent.

"If you replace 30 minutes of sitting time with 30 minutes of light-intensity physical activity — so something just like a casual stroll down the hall — that still can lower your risk," explained Keith Diaz, an assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Medical Center and the first author of the study. "Any movement for any length of time is going to give you health benefit, and this is really shifting what we know about physical activity."

Any Amount Of Physical Activity Can Help

Health experts have long been warning about the negative effects of prolonged periods of sitting. Some diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle include type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and heart disease.

However, for many Americans, spending more than eight hours a day seated is unavoidable. A report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that last year that 25 percent of the nearly 6,000 adults surveyed spend hours of their day sitting at work, home, and during their commute. About 45 percent of that number admitted that they do not exercise.

The researchers hope that the new study can encourage the public to get moving. Diaz said that every kind of activity, even simply choosing to walk toward a bathroom farther away from the desk could help.

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