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Sitting is the new smoking, but not all types of sitting are made equal
A new study has bad news for those who binge watch TV.
- Too much sitting is horrible for you, but not all sitting is the same.
- A new study finds even short bouts of movement during the day can dramatically reduce your risk of death.
- While it found light exercise was able to counter some effects of sitting, it found moderate to vigorous workouts did better.
Americans have a sitting problem. A quarter of us are sedentary for eight waking hours a day, which wreaks havoc on our health. It increases our mortality rate, increases your risk of dying from pretty much everything, and leaves us less healthy than if we were to get a little more exercise in.
However, according to a new study, not all sitting is equal, and there are simple things you can do to reduce the adverse effects on your health.
You may want to take this standing up
A new study out of Columbia University, and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, followed 7,999 volunteers over four years and examined how active they were during the day. After that, they were monitored for up to four years to see how their activity levels related to their mortality rates.
It was found that the risk of death could be cut by 17 percent by replacing a mere 30 minutes of sitting with light exercise each day. The benefit doubled when the activity was a little more intense than just walking. Interestingly, they found that these benefits did not require the subject to do all of the exercising at once. Reaching a half hour through short bursts throughout the day was equally effective.
Lead author Dr. Keith Diaz summarized the findings:
"Our findings underscore an important public health message that physical activity of any intensity provides health benefits. If you have a job or lifestyle that involves a lot of sitting, you can lower your risk of early death by moving more often, for as long as you want and as your ability allows — whether that means taking an hour-long high-intensity spin class or choosing lower-intensity activities, like walking."
So, what should I do?
The first answer is that you should sit less. The most significant drops in mortality rates were seen when people spent at least 30 minutes a day on moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, gardening, swimming, or even housework. While you should be getting more than a half hours' worth each day, this is an excellent place to start.
Failing that, you should find ways to work small bouts of light exercise into your day. Even little walks to the coffee machine or a quick stretch every half hour can help. Two minutes of exercise every half hour works out to around 30 minutes of it over an eight-hour workday, an amount that will do you good.
This finding means that different kinds of seated activities can be worse for your health than others. Sitting at your desk at work is often punctuated by these small bits of movement even if you don't plan on them. Vegging out on the sofa watching six hours of television is rarely marked by these short bouts of exercise, excepting when you need to get up to get more snacks — or use the bathroom.
Again, the real takeaway from all of this is that you should get more exercise. The Mayo Clinic says that 30 minutes of moderate exercise is the least you can do and that generally aiming for more is better.
Sitting may be the new smoking, but there is no reason why your desk job should kill you. The findings of this study, while confirming the risks posed by an inactive lifestyle, demonstrate that there are simple ways to correct for inactivity that you can do right now.
Now that I'm done writing this, I think I'll go for a walk. If you've been reading it, I advise you to do the same.
Scientists used CT scanning and 3D-printing technology to re-create the voice of Nesyamun, an ancient Egyptian priest.
- Scientists printed a 3D replica of the vocal tract of Nesyamun, an Egyptian priest whose mummified corpse has been on display in the UK for two centuries.
- With the help of an electronic device, the reproduced voice is able to "speak" a vowel noise.
- The team behind the "Voices of the Past" project suggest reproducing ancient voices could make museum experiences more dynamic.
Howard et al.<p style="margin-left: 20px;">"While this approach has wide implications for heritage management/museum display, its relevance conforms exactly to the ancient Egyptians' fundamental belief that 'to speak the name of the dead is to make them live again'," they wrote in a <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-56316-y#Fig3" target="_blank">paper</a> published in Nature Scientific Reports. "Given Nesyamun's stated desire to have his voice heard in the afterlife in order to live forever, the fulfilment of his beliefs through the synthesis of his vocal function allows us to make direct contact with ancient Egypt by listening to a sound from a vocal tract that has not been heard for over 3000 years, preserved through mummification and now restored through this new technique."</p>
Connecting modern people with history<p>It's not the first time scientists have "re-created" an ancient human's voice. In 2016, for example, Italian researchers used software to <a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/hear-recreated-voice-otzi-iceman-180960570/" target="_blank">reconstruct the voice of Ötzi,</a> an iceman who was discovered in 1991 and is thought to have died more than 5,000 years ago. But the "Voices of the Past" project is different, the researchers note, because Nesyamun's mummified corpse is especially well preserved.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It was particularly suited, given its age and preservation [of its soft tissues], which is unusual," Howard told <em><a href="https://www.livescience.com/amp/ancient-egypt-mummy-voice-reconstructed.html" target="_blank">Live Science</a>.</em></p><p>As to whether Nesyamun's reconstructed voice will ever be able to speak complete sentences, Howard told <em><a href="https://abcnews.go.com/Weird/wireStory/ancient-voice-scientists-recreate-sound-egyptian-mummy-68482015" target="_blank">The Associated Press</a>, </em>that it's "something that is being worked on, so it will be possible one day."</p><p>John Schofield, an archaeologist at the University of York, said that reproducing voices from history can make museum experiences "more multidimensional."</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"There is nothing more personal than someone's voice," he told <em>The Associated Press.</em> "So we think that hearing a voice from so long ago will be an unforgettable experience, making heritage places like Karnak, Nesyamun's temple, come alive."</p>
Inequality in wealth, gender, and race grew to unprecedented levels across the world, according to OxFam report.
- A new report by global poverty nonprofit OxFam finds inequality has increased in every country in the world.
- The alarming trend is made worse by the coronavirus pandemic, which strained most systems and governments.
- The gap in wealth, race and gender treatment will increase until governments step in with changes.
People wait in line to receive food at a food bank on April 28, 2020 in Brooklyn.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Credit: Oxfam International
A supernova exploded near Earth about 2.5 million years ago, possibly causing an extinction event.
- Researchers from the University of Munich find evidence of a supernova near Earth.
- A star exploded close to our planet about 2.5 million years ago.
- The scientists deduced this by finding unusual concentrations of isotopes, created by a supernova.
This Manganese crust started to form about 20 million years ago. Growing layer by layer, it resulted in minerals precipitated out of seawater. The presence of elevated concentrations of 60 Fe and 56 Mn in layers from 2.5 million years ago hints at a nearby supernova explosion around that time.
Credit: Dominik Koll/ TUM