SITTING ALL DAY MAY INCREASE YOUR RISK OF DEMENTIA
We’ve all heard that sitting for many hours a day can increase our risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and other illnesses. However, a recent study has found that extended sitting may also increase our risk of developing dementia.
I sit at my computer for at least six hours per day and then spend another four hours in the evening either reading or watching the latest series on Prime or Netflix. Back in March 2021, I posted that a solution to sitting for long hours could be stretching (What to Do After Sitting All Day? Stretch!). Now I realize that this is probably not sufficient. That’s because I came across a December 1, 2023 online article by Matthew Solan, Executive Editor of Harvard Health Watch, Sitting many hours per day linked to higher dementia risk. If you also spend a lot of your day seated, read on:
Too Much Sitting is not good for the brain
But how much sedentary time is too much? According to a study published online September 12, 2023, by JAMA, remaining physically inactive for 10 or more hours per day is linked to a higher risk of later developing dementia.
For the study, 50,000 people (average age 67, about 45% of whom were men) who were free of dementia wore a wrist accelerometer 24 hours a day for one week to track their daily moving time. After the average of six years of follow up, the researchers checked to see which participants had been diagnosed with dementia and correlated that information with the activity readings from the start of the study. They found that people who had been inactive for at least 10 hours per day had a higher risk of dementia than those who spent more time moving.
The risk drastically increased the longer people were sedentary. For instance, compared with 10 hours of sitting, dementia risk rose 50% at 12 hours and almost tripled at 15 hours. The risk was also consistent whether the sedentary time occurred in extended continuous periods or was spread intermittently throughout the day.
The researchers pointed out that because there was no strong association with dementia risk among people who sat for less than 10 hours per day, this could be a good time marker to follow to ensure you don’t sit too much.
Obviously, the way to reduce dementia risk is to find ways to sit less during the day. For instance: invest in and begin using a standing desk; stroll around your house or office while you’re on the phone; walk on a treadmill instead of lounging on your couch while watching TV. Good luck!