Living a sedentary life can be a potentially independent risk factor for heart disease and stroke, warns a study, suggesting to “sit less and move more”.
The findings showed that sedentary behaviour may be also associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes, impaired insulin sensitivity (linked to diabetes) and an overall higher risk of death from any cause.
Sedentary behaviour includes sitting, reclining, or lying down while awake as well as reading, watching television or working on the computer.
These ‘inactive activities’ mean energy expenditure is less than or equal to 1.5 metabolic equivalents, or METs.
Light housework or slow, leisurely walking uses about 2.5 METs, moderate to vigorous physical activity usually requires 3.0 or more METs.
Moreover, moderate to vigorous physical activity does not cancel out the impact of sedentary time. Even physically active people who spend a lot of their time being sedentary appear to have increased risk, the researchers said.
“Regardless of how much physical activity someone gets, prolonged sedentary time could negatively impact the health of your heart and blood vessels,” said Deborah Rohm Young, Director at Kaiser Permanente in California, US.
It is not clear whether people should replace prolonged sedentary behaviour with simple movement or moderate to vigorous physical activity.
“We don’t have information about how much sedentary behaviour is bad for health — the best advice at this time is to ‘sit less and move more’,” Young added.
According to American Heart Association, 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise in a week is recommended to avoid various health risks.
However, instead of lumping all the exercise into one or two days, the goal is to encourage more consistent activity, Young said, in the paper published in the journal Circulation.