'This is one of the first studies to show that sitting time is associated with early markers of atherosclerosis buildup in the heart,' said senior study author Amit Khera, associate professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre. 'Each additional hour of daily sedentary time is associated with a 12 percent higher likelihood of coronary artery calcification,' Khera noted.
In this study, the researchers asked some 2,000 participants to wear a device that measured their activity levels for a week. Participants spent an average of 5.1 hours sitting per day and an average of 29 minutes in moderate to vigorous physical activity each day.
'We observed a significant association between increased sedentary time and coronary artery calcium,' Khera said. 'These associations were independent of exercise, traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and socioeconomic factors,' Khera noted. 'This research suggests that increased subclinical atherosclerosis characterized by calcium deposition is one of the mechanisms through which sedentary behavior increases cardiovascular risk and that this risk is distinct from the protective power of exercise,' he explained.
So those of you who work behind the desk at work daily, you need to keep in mind this risk factor and kickstart a healthy habit of getting up and keep walking around from time to time during work, reducing "sitting time" by atleast one or two hours per day. For starters, you'll burn more calories. This might lead to weight loss and increased energy. Even better, the muscle activity needed for standing and other movement will trigger important processes related to the breakdown of fats and sugars within the body. When you sit, these processes stall - and your health risks increase. When you're standing or actively moving, you kick the processes back into action.