Regardless of how much physical activity someone gets, prolonged sedentary time could negatively impact the health of their heart and blood vessels, finds a new study on heart disease.
According to the study, sedentary behavior may be associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, impaired insulin sensitivity which is linked to diabetes and an overall higher risk of death from any cause.
The study also found that moderate to vigorous physical activity does not cancel out the impact of sedentary time. Even physically active people who spend a lot of their time being sedentary appear to have increased risk.
The study authors say that people should strive for 30 minutes or so of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day to achieve the recommended150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. Doctors also say that, rather than combining all the weekly exercise time into one or two days, it is more beneficial if the physical activity was more consistent.
Sedentary behaviors include sitting, reclining, or lying down while awake as well as reading, watching television or working on the computer. Measurements using Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET), which is defined as the amount of oxygen consumed by a body while sitting at rest, show that the average energy expenditure of these ‘inactive activities’ is less than or equal to 1.5 Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET). By comparison, light housework or slow, leisurely walking uses about 2.5 METs, moderate to vigorous physical activity usually requires 3.0 or more METs.
Researchers say that based on existing evidence, most people are sedentary for about six to eight hours a day, while adults 60 years and older spend between 8.5 to 9.6 hours a day in sedentary time. While a lot more research needs to be done to determine the exact link between sedentary behavior and heart diseases, the researchers say the take-away from their study is that people should be encouraged to ‘sit less’ and ‘move more’.