Health risks can come from surprising causes. We all appreciate how important exercise is. But recent research also suggests sitting down for long periods poses serious health risks too including heart disease, diabetes and even death. The team involved in the research, from Leicester and Loughborough Universities, say that even if people exercise it doesn’t negate the effects of extended periods of sitting.

When you think about it, even people who exercise can lead a basically sedentary life style. Sitting at a desk all day in the office, watching TV or using a computer, all encourage people to be seated. And that probably covers most of us. Worryingly the researchers were unable to say how much sitting down poses a threat to health. What they could say without doubt is that people who sit far more than others are all at risk from life-limiting illnesses

The message from the researchers is although you may get your hour of exercise in every day, you need to think about the rest of the day too. They also say their evidence was suggestive of being sedentary impacting glucose levels and increases inulin tolerance but couldn’t be more specific. For now.

There are in fact easy ways we can all increase the amount of time we spend on our feet. Whether you put your laptop on an eye level shelf, take a walk at lunchtime or walk to meetings. And don’t think exercise is unimportant. It is. All things being equal people who exercise have better outcomes. But even with the same exercise, a hairdresser who stands all day will have less risk than someone who sits at a computer all day. Being less sedentary and exercising are key.

What we can take away from the research is that we may not be as healthy as we think. Anyone who is desk-bound has cause to worry. From our point of view the research identified a risk factor we were unaware of. It’s another reason to think carefully about the benefits of income protection insurance.