After years of being told that sitting too much is deadly, a new study now suggests that being sedentary for long periods of time may not be an equal-opportunity health risk.
For inactive middle-aged and older people with multiple health problems, being sedentary does appear to be linked to an increased risk of early death. But sitting a lot doesn’t seem to affect active people the same way, the researchers said.
“We found that in people who scored low on the frailty index, sitting time was not linked to risk of death,” said one of the study’s authors, Olga Theou.
According to Consumer Affairs, “The researchers found that participants who were frailer and had high amounts of sedentary time were at greater risk of death than those who were more active. They say that the results should help doctors focus more on reducing sedentary time to create better patient outcomes.”
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans lists key guidelines for older adults that includes:
- All older adults should avoid inactivity. Some physical activity is better than none, and older adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits.
- For substantial health benefits, older adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
- For additional and more extensive health benefits, older adults should increase their aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
- Older adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or high intensity and involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week.
While it is important for everyone to avoid sitting for long periods of time, United Press International (UPI) points out that the research indicates that those who scored low on the frailty index were not at the same level of risk as those who were frail.
(One of the study’s authors, Olga Theou, said), “Physicians should stress the harms of inactivity with patients, similar to the harms of smoking, to encourage movement.” Theou is an assistant professor with Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
“Even something as simple as getting up and walking around the house with a walker or cane can benefit frailer people,” she suggested.
Share your thoughts on this new study and how we can ensure that all Arizonans remain active enough to get up, stand up…..and move around! Generating conversations around the health issues people are talking about is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!