Persistent sitting may accelerate aging

Persistent sitting may accelerate aging

The ongoing electronic revolution continues to expand the number of tasks that people can accomplish using computers and similar devices. Loved ones can have video conversations oceans apart, musicians can sell their work directly to their audiences as electronic files and motorists can navigate their journeys with GPS systems. Overall, we look at these innovations as major conveniences.

However, there are unintended consequences. Modern-day jobs are becoming computerized, requiring Americans to stay seated behind a desk for long stretches of time on the job. A growing body of research is showing that the increasingly sedentary nature of American jobs is taking its toll on the health of workers. One recent study published in BMJ: British Medical Journal suggested that persistent sitting is detrimental to telomere health and may accelerate the aging process.

Persistent sitting is associated with short telomeres.Sitting is a ‘health hazard’
The authors of the new study defined telomeres as the caps that sit on the ends of the chromosomes that contain our DNA. They serve a purpose that is similar to the plastic caps at the end of shoelaces, preventing abnormal fraying or clumping that can scramble the genetic information within cells. Generally, the longer telomeres are, the greater the longevity of the cells.

In the past, healthy lifestyles had been linked to long telomeres. To find out more about whether physical activity specifically can improve telomere length, the study authors monitored 49 adults, all of whom were in their late 60s and considered overweight or obese. During the start and conclusion of the study, the scientists measured the telomeres in the cells collected from blood samples. During the six months in between, the subjects participated in tailored exercise programs while recording their physical activity using diaries and pedometers.

Results showed that physical activity improved cardiovascular risk factors. However, exercise was not as impactful on positive changes in telomere length as much reductions in sitting time was.

“In many countries formal exercise may be increasing, but at the same time people spend more time sitting,” the researchers wrote in their study, quoted by the news source. “There is growing concern that not only low physical activity… but probably also sitting and sedentary behavior is an important and new health hazard of our time.”

“We hypothesize that a reduction in sitting hours is of greater importance than an increase in exercise time for [certain] risk individuals.”

Exercise is still important
Even though physical activity was not as important as reductions in sitting time in this study, don’t let that diminish the importance of regular exercise and taking a cell health supplement such as HealthyCell. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults of all ages who are generally healthy need to engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75-minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise every week.

However, physical activity need not occur in large blocks of time. It’s sufficient to break up this time into increments that are as short as 10 minutes. For example, you can go on a walk around the block, or perform calisthenics during breaks in your day.