Sitting too much at work puts you at higher health risks compared to non-sedentary jobs, study finds

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Saturday, March 9, 2024
Sitting too much at work may elevate these health risks: Study
A new JAMA study says those who sit at work had a 16% higher risk of mortality from all causes and 34% higher risk of heart disease.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A first-of-its-kind study looks at the dangers of sitting too much at work and what you can do to offset those detrimental health effects.

As a certified public accountant, 71-year-old Andrew Allcroft says he's pretty much chained to his desk for several hours a day, especially around tax season.

"We sit a lot. Yeah, I mean, I walk around the office a lot, but pretty much I'm pretty sedentary," he said.

A few months ago, Allcroft had a wake up call.

"I was sitting there and all of a sudden it felt like there was an elephant sitting on my chest," he said.

Allcroft had blockages in two of his arteries.

A new JAMA Network study - that followed nearly 500,000 people for 12 years found those who sit at work had a 16% higher risk of mortality from all causes and a 34% higher risk of heart disease compared to those who predominantly don't sit at work.

Doctors say occupational sitting is more dangerous than people think it is.

"We lose the empowerment that we have to keep our blood pressure well controlled, lower our cholesterol, manage our blood sugar and prevent things like diabetes, and of course manage our weight," said Dr. Tamanna Singh with the Cleveland Clinic

Researchers concluded that the risk of prolonged sitting could be eliminated with 60 to 75 minutes per day of exercise. But study authors say you can start slow with at least 15 to 30 minutes a day of moderate movement.

"This is basically as simple as just getting up and walking, something that most of us do every day, in little snippets throughout the day. So, I think if you just schedule that little bit of time into your day, you're really going to be doing a lot for yourself and for your body and your cardiovascular health," Singh said.

Researchers also encourage frequent breaks, standing desks and heading to the gym. Before he heads to work, Allcroft and his wife wake up early to exercise at Dignity Health Glendale Memorial's Cardiac Fitness Center.

"That's what we're doing now. And we feel better. We sleep better, you know, and it seems like it's worked for us," Allcroft said.

Doctors say it's never too late to get started.

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