If you sit for hours every day, you are at serious risk of heart and vascular disease, some cancers, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and several other degenerative diseases.
Unfortunately, most of us sit for long periods every day: in front of a computer, watching TV, reading or driving.
The inactive are most at risk. A large study published in 2015 found that the sickest people and those at the most risk of death are those who do no exercise whatsoever (those who are classed as inactive). The researchers found that when inactive people performed even small increases in activity there were big benefits.
The greatest reductions in the risk of premature death were seen when those who were completely inactive became moderately active.
This study also found that lack of exercise is twice as likely to kill you as obesity.
All it takes to avoid dying prematurely is a brisk 20-minutewalk each day. People who engaged in moderate levels of exercise such as taking an energetic 20-minute daily walk were 16% to 30% less likely to die than the inactive.
Any movement is good
The good news is that some research shows that regular, short and quite gentle exercise breaks can make a big difference to the dangers of sitting for long periods.
The researchers found that the benefits of walking at a light- intensity pace were almost identical to walking at a moderate-intensity pace. This suggests that it is not so much the amount of effort put into the exercise break that was critical, but simply that the act of regularly standing up and moving around is highly beneficial.
This means that you don’t need to pant and puff and work up a sweat. Just standing up, walking around, using the stairs instead of the elevator and standing while on the phone or at a meeting are all likely to help.
If you watch TV, get up during the commercial breaks, do some housework, walk around. Take a walk during your lunch break. Conduct one-on-one meetings while walking outdoors with colleagues.
Long periods spent sitting, independent of other physical activity, are quite harmful. Just sitting, with a lack of physical activity, can raise blood triglyceride level, blood sugar, blood pressure, C-reactive protein, and stimulate the appetite hormone leptin. These are risk factors for obesity, cardiovascular disease, inflammation mainly in women, rapid aging and several other chronic degenerative diseases.
Breaking up your exercise into small, manageable segments throughout the day is sometimes more beneficial than the same length of exercise in one continuous bout. (Excerpted from www.growyouthful.com)