You already know spending too many hours in a chair or on the couch is bad for your heart. But a new study puts a number on the risk: Scientists from the Medical College of Wisconsin found that for each hour a day you spend sitting your likelihood of developing heart disease rises by 14 percent.
And here’s the kicker: It doesn’t matter how much time you spend at the gym. Any increase in fitness from an hour’s exercise is overridden by several hours of sitting, The Independent
The findings are based on an analysis of the activity levels of 2,031 adults. Researchers compared the number of hours each participant spent sitting each day with the levels of deposits in blood vessels that act as signal for heart disease.
The results showed all study participants all spent two to 12 hours a day sitting at an office desk and in front of the television. The researchers calculated that for every hour spent sitting, heart risks rose by 14 percent — regardless of the participants’ fitness and exercise levels.
Jacquelyn Kulkinski, an assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine said the take-home message is pretty straightforward: Most Americans need to get up and move more.
“Reducing the amount of time you sit by even an hour or two a day could have a significant and positive impact on your future cardiovascular health,” she said, adding that it’s still a good idea to follow health guidelines recommending at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.
“The lesson here is that it’s really important to try and move as much as possible in your daily life, for example, take a walk during lunch, pace while talking on the phone, take the stairs instead of the elevator and use a pedometer to track your daily steps,” she said. “And if you have a sedentary job, don’t go home at night and sit in front of the TV for hours on end.”
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