Sedentary Behaviour Lowers Cardiovascular Fitness Levels, Study


Sedentary behaviour affects cardiovascular health, according to a new study by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Researchers said that sitting for two hours at a stretch lowers cardiovascular fitness levels.

Sedentary behavior is associated with lower levels of energy expenditure through activities like sitting, driving, watching television and reading among others. This study highlights sedentary behavior as an important indicator of cardiorespiratory fitness.

".....sedentary behavior may increase risk through an impact on lower fitness levels, and that avoiding sedentary behavior throughout the day may represent an important companion strategy to improve fitness and health, outside of regular exercise activity," said Dr. Jarett Berry, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Clinical Science and senior author of the study, in a statement.

For the study, researchers analysed the relationship between fitness levels, daily exercise and sedentary behavior from data of 2,223 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The participants, aged between 12-49 years, did not have a history of heart disease, asthma or stroke.

Researchers assessed the accelerometer data of all the participants; measured their average daily physical activity and sedentary behavior time and estimated their fitness levels using a sub-maximal treadmill test.

The researchers found that the negative effects of six hours of sedentary time on fitness levels was similar to the benefit of one hour of exercise.

Dr. Jacquelyn Kulinski, a recent graduate from the UT Southwestern Cardiology Fellowship Training Program and first author of the paper, said that any movement after a prolonged period of sitting time is good. The movement is linked to better fitness.

Reseachers recommend people to walk while on a phone call, stretch after sitting for a long time, engage in short walks and opt for stairs instead of elevators among others.

The finding is published in the Journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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