Studies that show the negative effects of sitting for extended periods of time are still fairly new, but the evidence that a sedentary lifestyle can shorten your life span is significant and mounting.
A 2012 paper in the journal Diabetes Research And Clinical Practices points out that excessive time spent sitting is a relatively modern problem:
“In contemporary society, prolonged sitting has been engineered into our lives across many settings, including transportation, the workplace, and the home. There is new evidence that too much sitting (also known as sedentary behaviour – which involves very low energy expenditure, such as television viewing and desk-bound work) is adversely associated with health outcomes, including cardio-metabolic risk biomarkers, type 2 diabetes, and premature mortality.”(1)
An Expensive Problem
In 2014, a study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine examined the healthcare costs associated with sedentary lifestyles, specifically in middle-aged Australian women. They found that the healthcare costs incurred by “highly inactive” participants were hundreds of dollars higher than those of more active participants.
The study concluded that, “physical inactivity… was associated with higher health-related costs in middle-aged women.”(2)
Explaining The Issue
In an attempt to explain the health impacts of prolonged sitting to laypersons who may not be familiar with medical jargon, the news show 60 Minutes recently commissioned a short video which lays out the effects that a sedentary lifestyle can have on your body(3).
Animator Duncan Elms used the 1-minute video to briefly outline the research done to date on the effects of excessive sitting, in an attempt to explain why such a simple activity (or lack thereof) can trigger such serious problems.