Sitting on your ass might be relaxing, but it can shed years off your lifespan, a new study suggests.
Just how many years?
Eight, to be more precise.
That's the answer a team of researchers at the University of California San Diego came up with via a study recently published this week in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Associations of Accelerometer-Measured and Self-Reported Sedentary Time W/ Leukocyte Telomere Length in Older Women. https://t.co/M73ZlNhM3R — Am J Epidemiology (@AmJEpi) January 19, 2017
Here's how the study worked: A group of 1,500 women, whose ages range between 64 and 95, and are either white or black, were asked to wear an accelerometer for seven consecutive days.
The purpose of the accelerometer? To measure physical activity and sedentary time (aka, time spent not being active).
After measuring the physical activity, the researchers compared the results to what is referred to as LTL (leukocyte telomere length).
In case that went over your head, the term "telomere length" is thought to be correlated with age and disease.
A greater telomere length is good, a lesser length, not so much.
That's important to remember when taking in the conclusion of this study.
In the "discussion" portion of their paper, the researchers wrote,
Among older women who were less physically active as measured by accelerometry, a greater amount of accelerometer-measured sedentary time was significantly associated with shorter LTL.
A trend of too much sedentary time being bad for your health is not exactly a shocker.
I mean, we all know being lazy is not the best thing, even if we embrace it.
But it's still interesting to see researchers try to put a number on it.
That number was also included in the study's "discussion" portion, which states,
Since women may lose on average 21 base pairs/year, this suggests that the most sedentary women were biologically older by 8 years. Our findings have important implications for an aging population, in which greater time spent sedentary and less physical activity tends to be the norm.
While the study focused on older women, it's pretty clear what the response to research like this should be: Get used to being active now, before it's too late.