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Prolonged sitting may raise anxiety levels: Deakin

Increased anxiety is the latest condition to be linked to prolonged sitting.

Watching TV, working at a computer or playing electronic games have long been associated with physical health problems such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.

Sedentary behaviour has also been associated with depressive symptoms.

Now, research by Melbourne’s Deakin University has linked sitting time to anxiety, a mental health illness estimated to affect more than 27 million people globally.

The debilitating illness can lead to people worrying excessively, and having physical symptoms such as pounding heartbeats, difficulty in breathing, tense muscles and headaches.
The research, published in the journal BMC Public Health, analysed the results of nine studies that looked at sedentary behaviour and anxiety.

Sedentary behaviour was classified in varying ways – from watching TV and using a computer, to total sitting time, including on public transport, watching TV and in the workplace.

Five studies found that an increase in sedentary behaviour was associated with an increased risk of anxiety, while four found total sitting time was associated with the risk.

The university researchers suggest the link could be because of disturbances in sleep patterns, withdrawing from social relationships or poor metabolic health.

They say follow-up studies are needed to see if anxiety is caused by sedentary behaviour.

Click below to hear from lead researcher Dr Megan Teychenne from Deakin University's Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research (C-PAN).

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