Various studies and many voices have been warning about the risks of a sedentary lifestyle for the heart. Physical inactivity brings with it many consequences that sooner or later end up deteriorating health and quality of life.

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The World Health Organization has pointed out on several occasions that inactivity is one of the main factors of premature death. It could not be otherwise, if the risks of a sedentary lifestyle are taken into account for the heart, which is a vital organ.

According to various studies , regular activities such as watching television or sitting for a long time is associated with coronary heart disease. The risks of a sedentary lifestyle for the heart are many, since the health of this organ largely depends on physical exercise.

Currently, there is a global epidemic of physical inactivity. The figures speak of up to 84% of people who do not carry out this type of activity, in some countries.  Despite much talk about the risks of a sedentary lifestyle for the heart, a lifestyle governed by inaction has prevailed.

What is sedentary lifestyle?

In general terms, sedentary lifestyle refers to the lack of daily physical activity. This includes performing activities that require very little energy expenditure. It is called physical activity which involves contracting the muscles  and making efforts that generate energy expenditure. In a more specific way, sedentary lifestyle has been defined as a condition in which a person performs activities that do not involve spending more than 10% of the energy that they would spend in a state of rest. The US Surgeon General has pointed out that there is a sedentary lifestyle when a person does not expend more than 150 kilocalories per day in physical activity. 

A simpler definition is the one that indicates that there is a sedentary lifestyle when physical activities are carried out for less than 20 minutes daily, less than three times a week. The risks of sedentary lifestyle for the heart appear when this becomes a constant lifestyle.

Risks of sedentary lifestyle for the heart.

Cardiovascular risk is the likelihood that a person will develop heart problems. This depends on two types of factors. The first are the so-called “non-modifiable factors”. These are age, gender, race, and family history. Control over these risk factors is limited.

The second type are “modifiable factors.” these allude to the individual circumstances may change, one way or another, and are closely related to lifestyleIt is then when the risks of sedentary lifestyle for the heart become important. An inactive life leads to the following problems, among others:

  • Increased cholesterol.
  • Hypertension.
  • Metabolic syndrome.
  • Diabetes.
  • Overweight and obesity.
  • Anxiety and stress.

Real risks.

The American Cancer Society has noted that sitting for more than six hours a day significantly increases the risk of dying early, by about 37%. Women are at higher risk than men.

Another study at the University of Carolina, made only with men and presented in 2010, noted that those who spend more than 10 hours a week driving his Motorcade increase the risk of heart disease by up to 64%.

Likewise, a study presented indicates that  the risks of sedentary lifestyle for the heart are particularly manifested by remaining seated for a long time, uninterruptedly. This position is more harmful than lying down, for example.

Suggestions and Recommendations.

The best way to avoid the risks of sedentary lifestyle for the heart is, obviously, avoiding inactivity. The ideal is to include a daily routine of physical exercise, which is consistent with the state of health and age. If you start from scratch, it is appropriate to gradually increase the intensity. It is always advisable to consult with the doctor.

Science suggests that habits are fixed when a behavior is repeated without interruption in a period of around 76 days. Once the habit is established, it is advisable to do 40 minutes of daily exercise, of medium intensity and with pauses to breathe. It is always convenient to warm up and finish little by little, not suddenly.

The most recommended activities are brisk walking, running, cycling, going up and down stairs, or others like that. It is best to choose an activity that is enjoyable, to stay motivated. Active breaks are also necessary, especially if a person works seated.