Sitting Linked to Early Death in Women

Prolonged inactivity shortens lifespan, study shows


If you’re a middle-aged woman, we’ve got some bad news. And you probably shouldn’t sit down for it. A new Cornell University study found that in older women, prolonged sitting is linked to early death. Are you standing yet?

In the study that observed 93,000 postmenopausal American women during 12 or more years, those who had the highest amount of sedentary time (defined by the study as sitting and resting, excluding sleeping) died earlier than their more active peers. Women with more than 11 hours of inactivity faced a 12 percent increase in mortality compared with with those with four hours or less of idle time.

The worst part? Even when controlling factors such as overall fitness, the study found that habitual exercisers are still at risk if they sit often during down time.

“The assumption has been that if you’re fit and physically active, that will protect you, even if you spend a huge amount of time sitting each day,” Rebecca Seguin, assistant professor of nutritional sciences in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology, told the Cornell Chronicle. “In fact, in doing so you are far less protected from negative health effects of being sedentary than you realize.”

But there are preventative measures, Seguin says. If you work in an office, get up frequently. If you’ve been in front of the TV too long, take a lap.