If you sit too much throughout the day—behind the wheel, at your desk, or on the couch—you may be increasing your risk of developing an anxiety disorder. So report researchers in Australia this month in the journal BMC Public Health after they reviewed nine studies on the issue and deemed the evidence for such a link "moderate." The lead researcher explains in a Eureka Alert press release that "anecdotally, we are seeing an increase in anxiety symptoms in our modern society, which seems to parallel the increase in sedentary behavior" (the National Institute of Mental Health reports generalized anxiety disorders affect about 6.8 million American adults). The researchers wanted to see if there truly was a link, and their research suggested "a positive association between sitting time and anxiety symptoms," though they say more study is needed.
In their meta analysis of the nine studies, all of which were published between 1990 and 2014 and ranged in size from 189 to 13,470 participants, five studies linked one's level of sedentary behavior with one's risk of anxiety. But don't think this means modern technology is solely to blame. While four studies showed that total sitting time affected the link, the association was less strong when separating out screen time—such as sitting in front of a TV or computer. And one study found that how much one sat while commuting was tied to anxiety risk, but sitting for work or leisure were not. So why the link in the first place? Sedentary behavior could disrupt sleep patterns, metabolic health, and social interactions, reports LiveScience. (If you're battling anxiety, you may want to pick up these on your next grocery run.)