Sitting down too often ‘harmful to cardiovascular health’

8 July 2014

Sedentary behaviours, such as sitting down too often, can lower cardiorespiratory fitness levels, according to research from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre.

Such behaviours involve expending low levels of energy, such as sitting, driving, watching television and reading.

The new study investigated the link between fitness levels, daily exercise and inactivity in 2,223 participants.

All participants were aged between 12 and 49 and had no known history of heart disease, asthma, or stroke. The findings suggest sedentary behaviours are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular health problems.

Dr Jarett Berry, senior author of the research, said the results indicate avoiding inactivity during the day could improve fitness levels, regardless of regular exercise.

"We also found that when sitting for prolonged periods of time, any movement is good movement, and was also associated with better fitness,"said Dr Jacquelyn Kulinski, first author of the study.

She added that people confined to desks for their jobs should change position frequently, get up and stretch, pace and even fidget.

According to the research team, to combat sedentary behaviour, people should take short walks in lunch breaks, take the stairs instead of the lift and replace desk chairs with fitness balls if possible.

Posted by Edward Bartel


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