To stay healthy, exercise appears necessary, but not sufficient. We also should sit less, according to a new study published in Nature: Scientific Reports. Sitting too much may jeopardize your health.
Two and a half hours a week of physical activity is important for a longer life and to deter all kinds of chronic conditions. You should spend at least 20 minutes a day increasing your heart rate. That benefits your heart, your mind, your muscle, your skin and more.
But, if you exercise for 20-30 minutes a day and then spend the rest of the day sitting, you may still jeopardize your health. Sitting can increase your likelihood of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. It can lead to high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and extra body fat around the waist. And, it can hurt your cholesterol.
The Mayo Clinic reports that, if you sit too much, it increases your risk of death from cancer and heart disease. A meta-analysis of 13 studies found that if you sit for eight hours a day straight, without any exercise, your risk of dying is analogous to the risks of dying from obesity and smoking.
What’s the solution? Take a break from sitting periodically, and walk around a little.
The Nature: Scientific Reports researchers studied 64 men and women sitting for longer and shorter periods of time over four-day sessions. Those who sat more appeared to hurt their heart health. Those who stood more had better insulin and cholesterol levels, likely from increasing their blood flow and muscular contractions over the day.
The more you use your muscles, the more blood sugar you burn. That, in turn, steadies your insulin levels and causes chemical activity that helps to lessen bad cholesterol.
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