A recent study, published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal, followed almost 9000 Australian adults and found that for every additional hour spent watching TV each day, risk of severe inflammation increased by 12 per cent (Including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes and kidney disease).
However, experts in this field suggested that watching TV was just one example of the many common sedentary tasks in everyday life.
Researchers say chronic disease prevention should address reducing sitting time in addition to promoting physical activity.
Sitting has previously been associated with an increased likelihood of developing Type two diabetes, certain types of cancer (breast and colon) and cardiovascular disease.
In addition to watching TV, people sit while driving, riding public transport, eating, reading and while on the computer, totalling about 11 hours each day.
One way to reduce sitting time in the work place is with standing desks. However, if standing desks aren’t possible for whatever reason in your workplace, find the opportunity to stand up more. Example - remove the bin from under desk to force you to get up to walk to the bin, go to the toilet on a different floor, drink more water and take more toilet breaks, stand up when on the phone.
We know from epidemiological studies that some of these sitting activities are strongly associated with poorer physical and mental health, and some are actually associated with better physical and mental health. Researchers say that TV comes up particularly badly but, reading and social activities perform well.
Also, researchers find that often people tend to snack more while watching TV.
On the positive side, We also know that when people do relatively large amounts of physical activity – say an hour to 90 minutes a day – the effects of even very large amounts of sitting are almost zero.
Conversely - Other research shows that too much standing can also be detrimental for health.
So the key seems to be adequate daily physical activity and frequent alterations between sitting and standing.