A 2-year old Australian medical study is getting a lot of attention recently, and for a good reason! This study found that spending more than 4 hours a day in front of a computer or television was associated with a significant increase in serious heart problems, even among people who exercised regularly.
This study shows that prolonged sitting is associated with higher levels of inflammatory markers in the blood, higher body weight and lower levels of HDL (“good” cholesterol). Even for those who are physically active, sitting for long periods of time creates a risk of heart attack equal to that of smoking!
As a society, our daily screen time has increased rapidly over the past decade – and so have our obesity and diabetes rates! For many of us, daily work life requires long periods of time in front of a computer or on the telephone. In the evenings, we spend time on social networking sites, answering email, and watching television or movies. All of this adds up to a tremendous amount of screen time!
So, what do we do with this information? The answer is simple; get off your butt!! While many of us find it difficult to carve out 30 minutes each day for exercise, it is more important now than ever to find that time! During the work day, there are some simple things you can do to reduce your risk of heart attack. You can create a habit of getting up from your desk every 30 minutes or even working at your computer while standing up. Got a conference call? Put it on speakerphone and get on your feet – pace, stretch, or simply stand up. Tired in the afternoon? Skip the coffee and doughnuts a head out for a brisk walk. The health benefit starts as soon as you get up!