Sitting down all day 'may accelerate DNA ageing'

26 January 2017

Sitting down all day 'may accelerate DNA ageing'

It’s no secret that staying active supports our overall health, but how much damage could we be doing by staying inactive for long periods?

Research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, suggests that those that sit for longer, age considerably faster than those who are more active.

A study of 1,500 female pensioners found those who kept to a seated position for ten hours or more a day and did less than 40 minutes of adequate physical activity, had the ‘biological age’ of people eight years older than them. This should come as a shock to the average Brit who spends nine waking hours sitting a day.

The research also reveals that sedentary people have shorter telomeres, the caps found on the ends of strands of DNA, which protect chromosomes.

During the study, participants aged 64 to 95 wore hip devices for seven days and completed a questionnaire. The hip devices recorded the participant’s movements and, as a result, concluded that cells age faster when the body is stationary.

However, the dangers of sitting for long periods is well documented. In fact, previous research has even suggested that staying stationary for two hours can increase the risk of cancer by ten per cent.

Are you sitting comfortably?

With the government currently recommending at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week for the elderly, experts suggest sitting for long periods of time can actually undo the good work of exercise. To avoid this, experts recommend standing up and walking around three times an hour.

With experts calling this a wake-up call to all, it is important we talk about the many benefits of physical activity from a young age. According to experts, this will help us develop exercise habits in our everyday lives, continuing them as we grow older. 

The Executive Director of UK Active, Steven Ward, said sedentary routines were sending the ageing crisis “into overdrive.”

“It’s never too late to get active and simple things at home such as carrying the groceries, climbing more stairs and pottering around the garden can play a huge role in staying healthy and independent as we get older.

“But whatever age we are, keeping active is the surest way to look after our physical, mental and social health, adding life to our years and years to our life.”

Are you guilty of spending too much time sitting down? With many of us spending 8 hours sitting at a desk, these new findings suggest not only is this bad for your health, but it is also ageing us prematurely too!

Do you make a habit of standing up throughout the day? We’d love to hear your thoughts over on Twitter.