Just as we were all settling in front of the television to watch the baseball playoffs, two new studies about the perils of sitting have spoiled our viewing pleasure.
The research, published in separate medical journals this month, adds to a growing scientific consensus that the more time someone spends sitting, especially in front of the television, the shorter and less robust his or her life may be.
This is research that is not counter-intuitive. Using television-watching as a proxy for time spent sitting or being sedentary, researchers found:
Every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes.
By comparison, smoking a single cigarette reduces life expectancy by about 11 minutes, the authors said.
Looking more broadly, they concluded that an adult who spends an average of six hours a day watching TV over the course of a lifetime can expect to live 4.8 years fewer than a person who does not watch TV.
Those results hold true, the authors point out, even for people who exercise regularly. It appears, Dr. Veerman says, that “a person who does a lot of exercise but watches six hours of TV” every night “might have a similar mortality risk as someone who does not exercise and watches no TV.”
I ride my bike alot, but I also spend a lot of time sitting infront of a computer. I’ll try to stand more, but the deeper issue, I think, is that modern human culture puts people in chairs, and in front of screens, much more than it puts them on their feet or outside. I haven’t figured out how to solve that paradox in my own life yet, but I am working on it.