Sitting for 8 hours a day increases risk of heart disease: Study

The side effects of sitting too long include increased susceptibility to heart issues, a new study has revealed.
sitting too long
Don't forget that your fitness and well-being is important too! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Team Health Shots Published: 16 Jun 2022, 11:15 pm IST
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The Covid-19 pandemic has altered life in such a way that hybrid working models have become a way of living for most professionals. Even children have been exposed to a system of online classes and tuition. That has pushed us all to the brink of extended hours of sitting in one place. But the side effects of sitting too long can be far too many.

Link between sitting too long and heart problems

A new study, co-led by Simon Fraser University health sciences professor Scott Lear and Wei Li of Beijing’s Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, focuses on the link between sitting time and heart health.

According to a statement on the official Simon Fraser University website, the research followed individuals over an average of 11 years. It found out that high amounts of sitting time were associated with increased risk of early death and cardiovascular disease.

The pattern was similar in all 21 countries surveyed, but it was especially so in low-income and lower-middle-income countries.

heart health
Take frequent breaks from sitting. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The research, published in the journal Jama Cardiology, took into account a survey of over 100,000 individuals across countries. The results indicate that people who sat for six to eight hours a day had a 12-13 per cent increased risk for early death and heart disease. And if that is extended to eight hours daily, the risk increased to 20 percent.

“The overarching message here is to minimize how much you sit. If you must sit, getting in more exercise during other times of the day will offset that risk,” said Lear.

Your risk of health issues reduces if you stay active, study reveals

Other facts that emerged from the study include that those who sat the most and were the least active had the highest risk of up to 50 per cent. Whereas, those who sat the most but were also the most active had a substantially lower risk of about 17 per cent.

“For those sitting more than four hours a day, replacing a half hour of sitting with exercise reduced the risk by two per cent,” Lear noted, adding that making corrective lifestyle changes can be a saviour.

Also, read: 10 easy things you can do in a busy day to stay fit

walk and talk
You can always try to squeeze in some walk time over calls. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

As per the study, the correlation between sitting and heart health was more visible in lower income countries. And that led researchers to speculate that it may be because “sitting in higher income countries is typically associated with higher socio-economic status and better paying jobs”.

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Having said that, Lear drew attention to the fact that sitting too long is a “global problem that has a remarkably simple fix: Scheduling time to get out of that chair is a great start.”

More side effects of sitting too long

* You could end up with hypertension
* Spinal issues can become rampant due to pressure on hips and back
* Watch your legs as sitting for long hours with your legs hanging in the air can have adverse affects
* Weight issues, followed by other lifestyle problems, can jeopardize your well-being

So, dear ladies, make conscious efforts to get up from the seat or make your children take frequent breaks from desk work. Stretch a little, walk a bit, take the stairs, do a little gym time, and you’ll see the difference.

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