I recently heard a fascinating radio interview with Dr Melody Ding from Sydney University’s School of Public Health commenting on stressors in peoples’ lives. She was reporting on the findings of a long term 3 year study of middle-aged and older adult Australians. Then, over 6 years researchers followed up 231,048 participants.

Stress has many causative agents and such risk factors as smoking, high alcohol intake, poor diet and physical inactivity were measured. In this study, two new emerging novel risk factors were also measured. For the first time, sedentary behaviour (long term sitting) and sleep duration were also measured.

Long term sitting now with many people spending a great deal of their time in front of a computer screen of some type has been tagged, “the new smoking”. Some researchers are even saying that the outcomes of this are more dangerous than the long term effects of smoking.

The key the researchers found in this study is that a combination of factors escalates the poor health of a person physically, mentally and emotionally.

  • Sleeping only 4 hours a night contributes to 7% increase in an early death
  • Sleeping more than 9 hours a night contributes to 44% increase in an early death
  • Longer sleeping time means that the persons possible exercise time is greatly decreased
  • Long term sitting means that the persons possible exercise time is greatly decreased
  • You need more than the base level of 150 minutes per week of exercise time
  • However, 300 minutes per week of exercise time is good in supporting a good state of health

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