Health Notes: Sitting a danger to health, active seniors live longer

In SNEWS Health Notes, we take a look at recent health research that might be pertinent to your business. In this report, SNEWS examines two studies, one of which concludes prolonged sitting causes death, and another that says active seniors live longer.

You want information about health, physical activity, exercise and wellness, but you don’t want all the techno-science garble that makes most reports overwhelming to read, let alone understand or pass on to customers. In SNEWS® Health Notes, an occasional series, we take a look at recent research that is pertinent to your business and explain it in a way that makes sense. If you have suggestions or comments, let us know by emailing

>>Sitting poses serious health risks, even if you exercise daily

We’ve known it's worth considering alternative office set-ups for a while, with the invention of the stability ball chair and the treadmill desk, but a study published in the March 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine makes prolonged sitting seem a little scarier.

This study found that people who spend 11 or more hours a day sitting are 40 percent more likely to die sooner than their counterparts who spend much of the day on their feet, even if they exercise regularly.

The self-reported data was gathered from more than 222,000 people over 45. Australian researchers analyzed the data and found that mortality risks spike after more than 11 hours of total daily sitting. This total daily sitting includes the time people spend sitting watching television, in addition to the time they spend sitting at work during the day.

So what? These studies analyzing the dangers of sitting have been more and more frequent, but use this information as an opportunity to sell people items that promote active sitting, such as stability balls, stability ball chairs and perhaps even a treadmill desk.

For the scientifically minded: Free abstract can be found here, and the full article can be accessed for a fee here.

>>Seniors who move more, not just by exercising, have a lower risk of dying

Another study published by the Archives of Internal Medicine found that seniors who are physically active, not just by exercising but by being on their feet in general, had a lower risk of death than their sedentary counterparts.

The study, conducted by a professor at the University Medical Center in Chicago, included 893 seniors who had an average age of 82. The seniors wore a device (specifically an actigraph) that tracked their daily activity for 10 days.

The study concluded that those who were more active had a 25 percent lower chance of dying within the four-year follow-up period. Of the original 893 seniors who entered the study, 212 of them died within the four-year follow-up period.

So what? The overall message of every SNEWS Health Notes is that exercise is good for everything from preventing heart attacks to prolonging your life. Seniors might feel that like it’s too late for them to start exercising, but show them this article and get them moving. Perhaps sell them a few accessories that are easy to use, or if you’re a Lifespan dealer, some of the treadmills and recumbent bikes are good for this demographic.

For the scientifically minded: The article did not have an abstract, but there was a brief summary, which can be found here. The full article (for a fee) can be found here.