Do you have a sedentary job where you sit at a desk day after day? And then do you go home at night to sit some more, zoned out in front of the TV or back on the computer?
A study released in January 2014 found that sitting for long periods of time significantly increases the risk of heart failure in men. The study, published in the American Heart Association journal, looked at more than 84,000 men between the ages of 45 and 69 over a 10-year period.
Men who spent 5 or more hours a day sitting were 34% more likely to develop heart failure than men who spent 2 hours a day or less sitting, researchers found. Additional research has indicated that too much sedentary time increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and death.
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Adults in the U.S. now spend an estimated 6 – 8 hours a day engaged in sedentary behavior, which includes sitting, driving, reading, TV viewing and computer usage. And even if you get in the recommended 30 minutes of exercise each day, that doesn’t necessarily make up for the many hours you spend on your bum the rest of the day.
So What Can you Do to Prevent Heart Failure?
Make it your goal to sit less every day. Don’t think that your morning run or your post-work trip to the gym gives you license to spend the rest of the day sitting. When watching TV, get up during commercials and move around or stretch. Walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator or escalator. Instead of emailing someone at work, walk over to their desk, even if it’s a few floors away. When you’re talking on the phone, pace instead of sitting. Anytime you can get up from your chair or the couch and move around, even if it’s just for a few minutes, you’ll be doing your body good.