Life Wellbeing The worrying consequences of sitting
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The worrying consequences of sitting

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It appears that sitting down could be the new smoking.

In a disturbing new video produced for Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes, the damage that sitting does to our bodies is put into terrifying terms like cancer and heart disease.

• Sitting down may increase risk of breast cancer
• Do you work in an office? Your job could be killing you
This story will get you out of your chair

According to the video, sitting down for 11 hours a day or more can increase your risk of death by up to 40 per cent compared to those who sat for four hours or less.

The stats are based on a three-year study of 200,000 people and found that people with desk jobs were also twice as likely to develop heart disease.

When we sit down, the enzymes that break down fat in our body also drop by 90 per cent while our blood pressure rises.

Cancer Council Australia Nutrition and Physical Activity Committee Chair Kathy Chapman said the link between cancer and sedentary behaviour had emerged only in the last five years.

“There’s evidence about physical inactivity being a risk factor for some types of cancer, in particular bowel cancer and breast cancer,” Ms Chapman told The New Daily.

“The evidence is starting to emerge around sedentary behaviours and sitting too much. In terms of sitting behaviours and cancers, I’d call it an emerging area, but we do know the importance of being physically active.

“Sitting down has become a much bigger thing and it’s really important that we don’t just talk to people about physically active but also asking them to think about how much time they spend sitting.”

While many of us can’t avoid having desk bound jobs, luckily sedentary researchers agree that little things to keep moving help offset the health risks associated with sitting.

Ms Chapman said to mitigate the health risks of sitting it was important to get up every hour or so.

She added that physical activity on weekends wasn’t enough to reduce the enhanced risk of death, heart disease and cancer.

“Workplaces, they can’t drastically change, but the advice that’s out there is to make sure you break it up every two hours and get up and do those stretches and get up during your lunch breaks.”

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