Sydney: Swapping just one hour of sitting with some physical activity such as walking each day, decreases your chance of an early death by 12 to 14 percent, said a new study that involved over 200,000 volunteers.
The study found that swapping even one hour of daily sitting with standing is linked to a five percent reduction in the risk of premature death.
"Previous research established the benefits of adequate physical activity or sleep and the risks of too much sitting, but this is the first to look at what happens when we replace one activity with an equal amount of another," said lead author Emmanuel Stamatakis from University of Sydney.
"With the average person sitting watching two to three hours of TV a day, there is definitely scope for people to get off the couch and be more active," Stamatakis added.
The researchers also found that replacing one hour of sitting with sleeping each day - in those who are not getting enough sleep - was linked to a six percent decrease in risk of premature death.
However, risk of an early death was increased by between 13 and 17 percent when one hour of daily walking or exercise was substituted with equal amounts of sitting or any other sedentary activity.
"The important thing for people to remember is the more you move the better, even if this movement is incidental or at a light intensity," Stamatakis said.
"It doesn't have to be formal exercise in a gym, it can be as simple as kicking a ball with your kids in the backyard, going for a walk in the neighbourhood instead of watching another hour of TV, or walking your dog for an extra half an hour a day," the researcher explained.
The study appeared in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity.