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Is Sitting Also Bad for Your Mental Health?

Granny with Red ShirtProlonged sitting, a new study has found, may contribute to the risk of depression.

For some time we have known that spending less time in your chair can lower your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes but now this new research has found that reducing sitting time may also lessen feelings of depression.

  • Australian researchers examined the relationship between sitting, activity level and depression.
  • They looked at physical activity, sitting time and feelings in 8950 women between the ages of 50 and 55.
  • The researchers found that women who sat the most (more than 7 hours a day) had a 47% higher risk for depressive symptoms than women who sat the least (less than 4 hours a day.)
  • Inactivity had a greater effect on mood. Women who did no physical activity had a 99% higher risk of developing depressive symptoms than those who met exercise guidelines, the study found.
  • Women who both sat for multiple hours and got no exercise were 3 times more likely to have depressive symptoms than women who sat less and exercised more.
  • The authors noted that sitting was not associated with future signs of depression. Those who spent more time sitting were more likely to feel more down in the present but prolonged sitting did not mean they would necessarily experience feelings of depression years later.
  • Exercise, however, could reduce the future risk of depression. No-one is immune from the negative health effects of prolonged sitting. Though running won’t exempt you from sitting’s ill effects, getting up from your chair every 20 minutes and walking around the office can help.

Office PicThe Australian government recommends 30 minutes of exercise a day on most days – the same as recommended by diabetes groups in NZ.

(Information taken from an article printed in Runners World 5th Sept 2013)

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