(HealthDay News) – Healthy, middle- and older-aged women who meet the current exercise recommendations spend as much time sitting each week as women who do not exercise regularly.

Lynette L. Craft, PhD, of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues examined the variability in sitting time for 91 healthy women aged 40–75 years. Participants wore activity monitors for one week, which quantified time spent in sitting, standing, stepping, and in sustained bouts of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA).

The researchers found that the participants spent an average of 64 hours per week sitting, 28 hours per week standing, and 11 hours per week in incidental non-exercise stepping. There was no significant difference observed in the time spent sitting for women who met or exceeded current recommendations of at least 150 minutes per week of MVPA in sessions of 10 minutes or more and those with none or minimal MVPA. There was no difference in the time spent sitting (9.1 vs. 8.8 hours/day), standing (3.9 vs. 3.9 hours/days), or intermittent stepping (1.6 vs. 1.6 hours/day) for days with and without the recommended MVPA.

“Our data suggest that time spent in recommended MVPA does not replace significant periods of sitting time,” the authors write. “Consequently, our data support the emerging contention that there is a need for new and separate recommendations aimed at reducing sitting time.”

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