Curbing the amount of time spent sitting down might help to protect ageing DNA and therefore possibly extend the lifespan, suggests a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Reducing sedentary activity appears to lengthen telomeres, which sit on the end of chromosomes, the DNA storage units in each cell.
Telomeres are important because they stop chromosomes from fraying or clumping together and scrambling the genetic codes they contain, performing a role similar to the plastic tips on the end of shoelaces, to which they have been likened.
“In many countries formal exercise may be increasing, but at the same time people spend more time sitting,” write the researchers.
“There is growing concern that not only low physical activity … but probably also sitting and sedentary behaviour is an important and new health hazard of our time.”
The study, the researcher say, needs to be repeated in other larger groups.
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