Atul Chugh, MD, a board-certified cardiologist with Franciscan Physician Network Indiana Heart Physicians, discusses the link between sitting and heart disease.
Q: I Heard That Sitting Too Much Can Contribute To Heart Disease. I Don't Understand That. Can You Explain It?
A: The whole topic of sitting and its long-term effects on health still requires more research. However, based on existing evidence, too much sedentary time can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and death.
Scientists believe that our bodies are engineered to be active. Our ancestors walked vast distances for survival.
Activity allows the body to undergo positive changes like decreasing the stiffening of blood vessels and the heart. People with less active lifestyles do not experience these effects and are more prone to cardiovascular disease. It's estimated U.S. adults now spend six to eight hours a day engaged in sedentary behavior, including sitting, driving, reading, TV viewing, screen time and computer use.
Q: How Can I Reduce My Time Spent Sitting?
A; Some suggestions to help minimize the time you spend sitting include:
- Stand or exercise while watching TV or working on the computer.
- Walk rather than sit while talking on the phone.
- Use a pedometer to track your steps.
- Increase your steps gradually over weeks to reach at least 10,000 steps per day.