We know sedentary lifestyle is bad for us. But how bad is it really? We know from previous studies that sedentary behavior is associated with increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and shorter life spans. What does the role of exercise play? A study published in the current issue of Annals of Internal Medicine looked at this question through reviewing 47 different studies which included over 830,000 people. What they found out was that regardless if you exercise or not, sitting for 8 hours per day is harmful to your health.
Researchers followed the studies which looked at people between 1 to 16 years. People who sat for long periods of time were 24% more likely to die from health problems. Risk of dying from cardiovascular disease was 18% higher; risk of dying from cancer was 17% higher in those who sat for more than 8 hours. The most staggering number was the risk of developing diabetes was 91% higher. It was noted, that those who exercised faced lower risks (maybe 30% less) of adverse health effects than those who did not exercise. However, exercise did not completely reverse the adverse risks.
A similar analogy is to eating hydrogenated oils and refined sugars and chasing it down with Kale and spinach. The point is nothing is as impactful as NOT eating the hydrogenated oils and refined sugars. Sitting for 8-12 hours per day and working out for 30-45 minutes does not reverse the insult of the sedentary behavior.
So.. Make an attempt to stretch more during a work day, stand more and increase walking and movement as much as you can.