Health Notes: Swapping activity for sitting may reduce the risk of early death

We recently wrote about the new Physical Activity Guidelines which exhort ALL Americans to get up and get moving. Newly published evidence now supports swapping 30 minutes of daily sitting with the same amount of any intensity activity may dramatically reduce the risk of early death.

As we know, law enforcement like much of public safety, is characterized by long bouts of boredom punctuated with moments of great anxiety or life-threatening activity. In fact, one in four of all adults in this country sit more than eight hours a day. Researchers at Columbia University “discovered that adults who sat for long periods of time - an hour or more without interruption - had a greater risk of early death than those who were sedentary for the same amount of time but got up and moved around more often. They also found that people who sat for less than 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk of early death” thus supporting the notion of more frequent activity breaks.

The longitudinal study of almost 8,000 adults 45 years of age or older found that lower intensity activity replacing sitting resulted in a 17% reduction and swapping 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity cut the risk of early death by twice as much - 35%. These findings support the dose-response relationship noted in the Guidelines! Proposed future studies by the investigators will attempt to identify specific health-related outcomes.

These findings also support consistent advice we’ve offered to our clients for years: find ways to get your people out from behind the wheel or the desk throughout a shift!

Source: Columbia University Irving Medical Center. "Physical activity, any type or amount, cuts health risk from sitting." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2019. <>