Sitting down all day is far too easy to do – sitting driving the car or on public transport, working at a computer, and watching TV make up the majority of the day for far too many of us. Even those of us who fit in 30-minutes of exercise and 8-hours sleep on most days tend to sit down the hours that are left.
All this sitting is damaging our health.
New research from the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in Canada has added to the growing body of evidence showing that the more we sit down, the more damage we are doing to our health. The researchers looked at the association between markers of health and sedentary time in 278 patients with coronary artery disease. All the patients had already been through a cardiac rehabilitation programme which aimed to teach them how to improve their physical activity levels in the long term. Despite learning how to lead an active lifestyle, on average the patients spent almost 8-hours a day sedentary – the more sedentary they were the higher their BMI and the lower their fitness, putting them at risk of another cardiac event.
These researchers suggested that everyone should get up and move every half an hour – reducing our sedentary time may be just as important as increasing activity, we need to do both.
Following this advice wouldn’t just reduce your risk of cardiovascular problems. Breaking sedentary time with 5-minutes of either walking or standing has recently been shown to reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes.
So, take the advice of the researchers and monitor your activity patterns to see when you’re sedentary for too long – then you can decide how to break your sedentary. It could be as simple as walking to get a small glass of water every half an hour (try going to the kitchen that’s furthest away from your desk) or standing up during the TV adverts.