Sitting down is so bad for you, even sleeping is better

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Researchers found that replacing just a few moments of sitting with any other type of activity — even sleeping or standing — can improve cardiovascular health.

NEW YORK, Nov 14, (Agencies): A recent collaborative study by researchers from the University of College London (UCL) and the University of Sydney highlights the potential risks associated with sedentary behaviors, revealing that adults spend an average of 9½ hours per day sitting. The study, which involved over 15,000 participants from five countries, emphasizes the impact of replacing sitting time with any form of activity on cardiovascular health.

The research suggests that even minimal changes, such as standing or sleeping, show improved cardiovascular effects compared to prolonged periods of sitting. In the six separate studies conducted, participants wore activity trackers to measure their heart health and activity levels over a 24-hour period.

Vigorous activities were found to yield greater heart health benefits, with even brief moments of moderate to vigorous exercise making a positive impact on cardiovascular well-being. For instance, replacing just five minutes of sitting with such activities demonstrated tangible improvements.

The study emphasizes the significance of intensity in movement. Dr. Jo Blodgett, the first author of the study, underscores the positive effect of replacing sitting with moderate to vigorous activity, which includes activities like running, brisk walking, or stair climbing—anything that elevates the heart rate and increases breathing.

While the study acknowledges the potential benefits of any activity, it suggests that lower-level activities may take longer to produce noticeable benefits. The findings also indicate that individuals with predominantly sedentary lifestyles stand to gain the most by incorporating more active behaviors into their daily routines.

Despite the associations found in the study, the researchers caution that it does not establish a causal relationship between activity levels and cardiovascular outcomes. They emphasize the need for more extensive, long-term research to confirm the correlation between higher activity levels and heart health.

Professor Mark Hamer, joint senior author of the study, stresses the novelty of considering behaviors throughout the entire day and expresses optimism that such an approach will lead to personalized recommendations for encouraging increased physical activity.

In response to the study’s findings, medical professionals, including Dr. Matthew Saybolt and Dr. James Leiper, emphasize the importance of regular physical activity for overall heart health. They encourage individuals to find enjoyable and sustainable ways to incorporate movement into their daily lives, promoting the concept of “activity snacks” like walking during phone calls or brief exercises every hour.

While the study provides valuable insights into the potential benefits of breaking up sedentary periods, it acknowledges the challenges of adopting a more active lifestyle and underscores the importance of making gradual, sustainable changes.

This news has been read 661 times!

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