Sitting for Long Hours May Increase Risk of Heart Disease

   |  Updated: March 09, 2015 13:07 IST

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Sitting for Long Hours May Increase Risk of Heart Disease

Most people spend quite a significant time of their day in their offices, glued to their screens for hours altogether. Rest of the day is no exception as most recreational activities have shifted indoors, leaving little scope for any kind of physical activity.



According to various studies and health experts across the globe, the 21st century man is spending most of his life sitting and is not walking enough. A lot of studies indicate that a person should ideally walk 10,000 steps a day to remain fit. Sitting for long hours damages posture, hurts spine, slows down metabolism and is also responsible for poor and sluggish blood flow in body.



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On an average, people aren't being moderately active to burn their daily calorie intake. In the wake of such circumstances, the human body is bound to harbour a host of non-communicable as well as metabolic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, obesity and even diabetes. Walking workstations and treadmill desks are just a few attempts to promote physical activity.



A recent study furthers warns against the ill-effects of sitting for long by stating that it can cause severe damage to your heart. According to a team of researchers, sitting for long hours every day is associated with increased coronary artery calcification that can increase the risk of a heart attack. The results suggest that exercise may not entirely counteract the negative effects of a mostly sedentary lifestyle on coronary artery calcium.

"It's clear that exercise is important to reduce your cardiovascular risk and improve your fitness level," said study's lead author Jacquelyn Kulinski.



"But this study suggests that reducing how much you sit every day may represent a more novel, companion strategy (in addition to exercise) to help reduce your cardiovascular risk," Kulinski, an assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, US, added.



This study offers a unique perspective on the effects of sedentary behaviour because it links sitting with an early marker for heart disease risk. Coronary artery calcification, measured through a non-invasive CT heart scan, indicates the amount of calcium contained in plaques within the heart's arteries. Analysing heart scans and physical activity records of more than 2,000 adults living in Dallas, the researchers found each hour of sedentary time per day on average was associated with a 14 percent increase in coronary artery calcification burden.



The association was independent of exercise activity and other traditional heart disease risk factors.



"I think the study offers a promising message. 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," said Kulinski.



An eight hour long shift at work may sometimes stretch and there may be days that call for extra work hours, but you need to make an effort to include some sort of physical activity in your daily routine. Experts suggest taking a break every 30 minutes, standing and working for a while may also help.



The research is scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology's 64th Annual Scientific Session from March 14 to16 in San Diego.



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Tags:  Sitting

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