Exercise might reverse side effects of sitting too long
Those of you who sit all day at work will definitely want to take a look at this study.
We've all heard too much sitting can lead to obesity, high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels -- and those who sit down more than 22 hours a week are especially vulnerable, according to the Mayo Clinic.
However, a new study led by Dr. Kerem Shuval of the American Cancer Society suggests that regular exercise largely reverses those negative side effects. The study recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, such as brisk walking, dancing or gardening, every week.
The study looked at more than 1,300 men from 1981 through 2012. It found that the association between prolonged sedentary time and cardio-metabolic biomarkers is markedly less pronounced when taking fitness into account.
In other words, working out canceled out the harmful effects of sitting and not being active. The study does point out that not enough people are getting exercise, though. Less than 5% meet the recommended guidelines to achieve health benefits.
As Health Day points out, it's okay to be a couch potato from time to time -- if you're fit.
This study contradicts previous research that says that even those who exercise face the same harmful side effects as those who don't if they sit for extended periods of time.
Studies reported by the Harvard School of Public Health show that sitting on the couch too long might actually change the way your metabolism functions.
Marc Hamilton of Pennington Biomedical Research Center has even found a gene known as LPP1 that prevents blood clotting and inflammation in the cardiovascular system -- but the gene seems to be inactivated if you sit for too long, no matter how often you exercise, says Runner's World.
Researchers worry that people who exercise regularly might be sedentary to a harmful degree during the rest of the day because they think of their day in two blocks, active time and resting time, versus the 24 hours as a whole.
Researchers even have a name for those caught in the middle of this phenomenon. They call this type "the active couch-potato."
So how can you protect yourself while the scientific community sorts this out?
Well for one, researchers agree that regular exercise is beneficial for overall health regardless.
The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity five days a week or 25 minutes of high-intensity activity three days a week.
To reduce sitting at the activity that might take up the most of your time –– your job –– The Wall Street Journal suggests ways to get a standing desk without exhausting your budget.
To learn more about how this recent study was conducted, you can visit the Mayo Clinic's website, where the study was published.
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