People who spend much of their day sitting may be more likely to feel anxious, a new review suggests.
The findings, researchers said, do not prove that sitting in front of a TV or computer causes anxiety. For one, it’s possible that anxiety-prone people choose to be sedentary.
On the other hand, it’s also possible that too much down time can affect mental well-being, said lead researcher Megan Teychenne, of Deakin University’s Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, in Victoria, Australia.
It could be an indirect path: If, for example, people lose sleep because they spend hours online or watching TV, that could contribute to anxiety, Teychenne explained. It could also be more direct — if, for instance, a sedentary activity like video gaming constantly stimulates the nervous system.
But for now, that’s speculation.
The important point, Teychenne said, is that there is a relationship between prolonged sitting and anxiety, and it should be studied further.
“We know that anxiety is a serious illness,” she said, noting that in Australia, about one-sixth of adults and teens have an anxiety disorder.
“With the growing number of people spending long periods of their day on computers, in front of the TV and on their smartphones, it’s important that we determine whether sitting time does, in fact, lead to increased risk of anxiety,” Teychenne said.
The review, published online June 19 in the journal BMC Public Health, looked at nine international studies. Some focused on adults, some on children; some assessed people for full-blown clinical anxiety, while others asked people how often they felt “worried, tense or anxious.”
Overall, Teychenne’s team found, most of the studies found a correlation between people’s daily sitting time and their risk of anxiety.
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SOURCE: WebMD News from HealthDay