The researchers - Sara Rosenkranz and Richard Rosenkranz, both assistant professors of human nutrition from Kansas State University - studied a sample of 194,545 men and women ages 45 to 106.
The data was from the 45 and Up Study, which is a large Australian study of health and aging.
Richard said that not only do people need to be more physically active by walking or doing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, but they should also be looking at ways to reduce their sitting time.
The twofold approach-sitting less and moving more-is key to improving health, the researchers said.
People often spend the majority of the day being sedentary and might devote 30 to 60 minutes a day to exercise or physical activity, Sara said. Taking breaks to stand up or move around can make a difference during long periods of sitting.
Sitting for prolonged periods of time-with little muscular contraction occurring-shuts off a molecule called lipoprotein lipase, or LPL, Sara said. Lipoprotein lipase helps to take in fat or triglycerides and use it for energy.
For the study, the researchers wanted to take a positive approach and see if increasing physical activity helped to increase health and quality of life. The researchers want to motivate people-especially younger people-to sit less and move more so they can age easier with less chronic disease.
The research has been published in the journal BMC Public Health.