How to Counteract Harmful Effects of Sitting for Long Periods

In 2015, a study carried out by researchers from Toronto concluded that sedentary behavior which includes sitting down for long periods of time can elevate our chances of getting a disease that may lead to premature death even if we exercise. However, a new study from Norway has suggested that you can counteract the harmful effects of sitting by exercising.

In the new study, information from more than 1 million healthy people involved in 16 studies conducted in countries like the United States, Canada, Spain, Australia, Denmark, Japan, Norway and the United Kingdom were analyzed. The participants, who were mostly above 45, were observed for two to 18 years. A total of 84,600 people died during the course of the study.


The results suggest exercising for more than an hour a day can actually reduce the risk for early death due to long sitting.

People who sit for more than 8 hours a day, but who also do exercise for 60 to 75 minutes a day, don’t have increased risk for early death compared to physically active people.

On the other hand, people who sat for more than 8 hours a day and had less than 5 minutes of exercise per day were found to be 59% more likely to die during the study period compared to physically active people.

“Our message is a positive one: it is possible to reduce — or even eliminate — these risks if we are active enough,” study co-author Ulf Ekelund said in a statement.

What are the Harmful Effects of Sitting Too Much?

Several studies have linked sitting for long periods of time with obesity, increased blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, excess body fat and abnormal cholesterol levels.  It is also associated with elevated risk of early death from cancer and cardiovascular disease.