Stand Up For Health – Could Sitting Increase Heart Risk?

Sitting down for sustained periods of time could lead to the increase of heart disease, diabetes and death a new research paper has claimed.  Leicester and Loughborough Universities have been studying the effects that inactivity can lead to in later years.  They also concluded that even people who were regularly active may not be excluded from suffering from the aforementioned diseases.

The study was published in Diabetologia, a diabetes news journal, and took information from 18 existing studies which involved approximately 800,000.  Diabetic charity Diabetes UK stated that anyone would benefit from moving around compared to people who were perched on their couches night after night.

The issue in the UK is there are too many opportunities to immobilise oneself with the endless amounts of TV, sitting in the car or whilst you are using the computer.  People will allow themselves to become embroiled in these behaviours as this provides a distraction and wouldn’t allow them to feel guilty about not doing anything.  People are always encouraged to head to their local gym or pool than to head straight home, put the tea on and put the feet up all night.

Each of the studies was assessed using different methods.   Watching 14 hours a week watching TV, or a self assessed sitting down time of less than three hours a day to more than eight hours per day.  This meant that it was not possible to give a complete limit of how much inactivity isn’t good for you.

There is a direct correlation between the amount of activity one takes part in and the health risks associated with not taking part in exercise.  For example, a waiter will be less at risk of developing heart disease etc rather than the office worker who sits down all day and then doesn’t participate in activities.

The popular misconception is that people exercise for half an hour a day and assume that will keep the wolf from the door, so to speak.  But it is the other 23.5 hours a day people need to address.

The strongest bond in the research was between prolonged sitting and diabetes.  Remaining stationary for long periods of time affects glucose levels in the body negatively and increases the resistance to insulin – but it is unclear how this is happening.

The studies message is clear and simple – in order to avoid (or reduce the risk of) diabetes, heart disease or ultimately death then get out and get moving.  Keeping fit and lean will give the body a better chance of longevity with the reduced risk of developing a disease like previously mentioned.

Jenny Jones writes on behalf of AXA PPP healthcare and contributes to many blogs covering many topics such as private health care as well as health and fitness.