A recent study found that sitting down for an extended amount of time throughout the day could result in aging us a lot faster.
The study looked at 1,500 women ages 64-95 years old. The women filled out a questionnaire regarding the amount of time they spend sitting, lying down, and sleeping on a typical day and another questionnaire about their activity level in a normal week. Each woman was also given a triaxial accelerometer, or activity tracking device, to wear on their hip for one week at all times other than bathing and swimming.
The results showed that those who sat for 10 or more hours per day and got less than a half hour of exercise were, biologically, eight years older than their actual age.
How is this possible?
On the end of every strand of DNA, there are small protective caps that defend our chromosomes against deteriorating. These caps are called telomeres and naturally shorten with age. Shortened telomeres have an adverse effect on our health and are the main cause of an age- related break down of our cells. These shortened telomeres have also been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer.
This particular study found that the women whose activity tracker reported higher sedentary time were “more likely to have high blood pressure, a history of chronic diseases, a lower physical performance score, and to have experienced a fall in the past 12 months.” As a result, we can conclude that our telomeres are shortening quicker with an inactive lifestyle and our cells are therefore aging more quickly as well.
Need more reasons to be active?
- Prevents disease
- Improves mental health
- Decreases risk of falls
- Socially engages
- Improves cognitive function