Special Reports

Too Much Sitting May Double The Risk Of Physical Disability


Older people who sit too much have an increased risk for developing life-altering physical disabilities, HealthDay reported.

Sedentary behavior has been linked to poor health in older adults in the past, but researchers from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine found that every additional hour spent sitting doubles the risk of being disabled - regardless of how much moderate exercise they get, HealthDay reported.

For example, if there are two 65-year-old women, one sedentary for 12 hours a day and another sedentary for 13 hours a day, the second one is 50 percent more likely to be disabled, researchers found.

"This is the first time we've shown sedentary behavior was related to increased disability regardless of the amount of moderate exercise," Dorothy Dunlop, lead author of the study and professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a statement. "Being sedentary is not just a synonym for inadequate physical activity."

For the study, investigators analyzed data collected from 2,286 adults who are at least 60 years old and had participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. From 2002 to 2005, each study participant wore an accelerometer to measure their sedentary time and moderate vigorous physical activity, Fox News reported.

Researchers also gathered Researchers also gathered health data from the participants to determine their risk for disability.

"The way they defined disability was limitations in basic activities you need to be able to do to stay independent - feeding yourself, bathing yourself, dressing yourself, walking from room to room," Dunlop told Fox News.

To cut down on sitting time, Dunlop said people should stand up when they talk on the phone or during a work meeting, park in a space farthest away during a trip to the grocery store or mall, and walk for short errands instead of taking a car.

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