Sitting down all day has been linked to increased anxiety, a new study finds.
Low energy activities like watching TV, working at a computer or playing electronic games may all be linked to anxiety.
The link between sedentary behaviours and worse physical health is well-established.
This study is the first to review the evidence on sedentary behaviours and the psychological impact on anxiety.
Dr Megan Teychenne, who led the study, said:
“Anecdotally — we are seeing an increase in anxiety symptoms in our modern society, which seems to parallel the increase in sedentary behavior.
Thus, we were interested to see whether these two factors were in fact linked.
Also, since research has shown positive associations between sedentary behavior and depressive symptoms, this was another foundation for further investigating the link between sedentary behavior and anxiety symptoms.”
Overall, the studies suggested that greater sedentary behaviour was linked to greater anxiety.
The cause of the link could be down to disturbed sleep, poor metabolic health or social withdrawal.
Dr Teychenne said:
“It is important that we understand the behavioral factors that may be linked to anxiety — in order to be able to develop evidence-based strategies in preventing/managing this illness.
Our research showed that evidence is available to suggest a positive association between sitting time and anxiety symptoms — however, the direction of this relationship still needs to be determined through longitudinal and interventional studies.”
The study was published in the journal BMC Public Health (Teychenne et al., 2015).
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Anxious woman image from Shutterstock