Replacing Sitting Time With Physical Activity

Trusted Health Products
Written By Lisa S. Jones / Reviewed By Ray Spotts

Regular moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and premature death. And the amount of time spent sedentary-distinct from physical inactivity is associated with a higher risk of death and disease, perhaps resulting in part from sedentary behavior displacing physical activity. Replacing a half hour of sitting time with physical activity is associated with up to a nearly 50 percent reduction in mortality, says a study from the American Cancer Society. The study suggests that replacing modest amounts of sitting time with even light physical activity may have the potential to reduce the risk of premature death among less active adults.

The researchers analyzed self-reported sitting time, light physical activity, and moderate/vigorous physical activity among 92,541 participants in the ACS's Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort. It found among those who were the least active at baseline, replacing 30 minutes/day of sitting with light physical activity was associated with a 14 percent reduced risk of death, while replacement with moderate to vigorous physical activity was associated with a 45 percent reduced risk of death.

The investigators found similar but smaller associations among moderately active participants: replacing a half hour of sedentary time with light physical activity was associated with a six percent reduction in mortality among those who were moderately active; replacing 30 minutes of sitting time with moderate to vigorous physical activity was associated with a 17 percent mortality reduction in this group. However, for the most active, substitution of sitting time with light physical activity or MVPA was not associated with a reduction in mortality risk. Participants reporting more moderate/vigorous physical activity were leaner, had a higher educational attainment, and were less likely to be current smokers. For all participants, sitting time largely included watching TV and reading.

The study - in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine – had some limitations: it relied on self-reported physical activity and sitting time and it lacked information on certain activities of daily living that are particularly common for older adults. Participants were predominately white and educated, so may not represent the general U.S. population. "These findings suggest that the replacement of modest amounts of sitting time with even light physical activity may have the potential to reduce the risk of premature death among less active adults," conclude the authors.

Sitting Is Not The New Smoking

We have to say that the phrase – “Sitting is the new smoking,”  is misleading and for most who have thought it to be true, sitting is definitely not the new smoking despite countless newspapers and articles over the past couple of years claiming otherwise. A group of researchers came together forming a consensus which basically laid to rest all misleading claims which stated that the health dangers associated with sitting for long periods was the same as that which occurs when people smoke cigarettes.

A study in the American Journal of Public Health shows that researchers from the U.S., Canada and Australia emphasize the fact that excessive sitting for roughly about eight hours or more a day increases the risk of sudden death by about 20 percent thereabouts, but this is very small compared to the risk associated with smoking. The risk associated with smoking hikes up to a staggering 180 percent which is quite high compared to the risk associated with sitting, says researchers.

Dr. Terry Boyle, an epidemiologist from the University of South Australia, and one of the researchers involved in the evaluation had this to say: “Media stories of many sorts have recently compared sitting and smoking over the past four years now and even some respected clinical and academic institutions have also joined in spreading the myth.”

The Facts

Over the past century, smoking has become one of the greatest public health disasters in which the effects of sitting could never be compared. Smoking significantly accounts for most of the sudden deaths and chronic diseases today compared to sitting. It is also good to emphasize the fact that excess sitting is associated with health challenges like cancer and heart diseases while smokers have twice as much risk of dying of cancer and heart disease and a whopping 1,000 percent increased risk of lung cancer.

The impact that smoking and the number of deaths it causes far surpasses those of sitting. To emphasize more, the annual global cost of diseases caused by smoking was estimated at $467 billion in 2012 and an expected one billion deaths are still expected in the 21st century.

Unlike smoking, sitting is neither an addiction nor a danger to other individuals. With all the information provided, we have to understand that comparing the risk attached to smoking with that of sitting is really unwarranted and very misleading and only looks to play down the risks associated with smoking.

On a final note, smoking is a very bad habit which many individuals take as a simple thing they do at their leisure and in the process become addicted to it. Sitting is something entirely different and for no reason should anyone compare it to smoking.

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Written By:

Lisa S. Jones is a certified nurse, nutritionist, fitness coach and health expert. Her training credentials include a B.Sc. in Nursing from California State University in 2013 and Youth Nutrition Specialist Certification from the American Fitness Professionals and Associates in 2015. In 2017, she also received Holistic Nutrition Certification from the American Fitness Professionals and Associates.

Reviewed By:

Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at

Photo by Daoud Abismail on Unsplash

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