Health short: You should get up every 30 minutes, study finds


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You should get up every 30 minutes, study finds

Whether you’re a heavy sitter or a binge-sitter, racking up prolonged sedentary time increases your risk of early death, according to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

That conclusion held up even after researchers took account of mitigating factors, such as time spent exercising. The findings led the authors to suggest that people who sit a lot should get up and move around every 30 minutes.

The study team, led by Columbia University exercise researcher Keith Diaz, tracked the movements of close to 8,000 Americans older than 45 by asking them to wear an accelerometer on their hip. Over 10 days, sitting or lounging behavior took up the equivalent of 12.3 hours over a 16-hour waking day — about 77 percent, on average.

That’s a whole lot of sitting. But when researchers measured the “bout length” of subjects’ sitting spells, they found that 52 percent lasted less than a half-hour, 22 percent lasted between a half-hour and just under an hour, 14 percent lasted 60 to 89 minutes and 14 percent went on for more than 90 minutes.


After tracking subjects for four years, the researchers found a pattern: Those whose sitting bouts tended to be lengthier were more likely to have died.

Make no mistake, the authors cautioned: “Accumulation of large volumes of sedentary time is a hazardous health behavior regardless of how it is accumulated.” But shorter bouts of sitting “is the least harmful pattern of accumulation.”

— Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times

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