As a species, our lifestyles are becoming ever more inactive. Twelve thousand years ago, our hunter-gathering nomadic culture assured we were constantly moving around, yet today’s society insists that we work, rest and play whilst remaining seated. But just how unhealthy can our sedentary lifestyles be?
Pretty unhealthy, according to cardiologists at UT Southwestern Medical Centre, whose research has shown that remaining seated for two hours a day can be just as detrimental to our overall cardiovascular fitness levels as 20 minutes of exercise is beneficial.
Our sedentary lifestyles are having a negative impact on our health, researchers say.
The results, taken from comparing the fitness levels, daily exercise and daily inactivity of 2,223 individuals, found that spending long periods sitting down reduces our general cardiovascular fitness levels. This is dangerous because lower fitness increases our chances of contracting cardiovascular diseases like coronary heart disease, and worsens our risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.
“We also found that when sitting for prolonged periods of time, any movement is good movement, and was also associated with better fitness,” says researcher Jacquelyn Kulinski. “If you are stuck at your desk for a while, shift positions frequently, get up and stretch in the middle of a thought, pace while on a phone call, or even fidget.”