Showing posts with label sedentary lifestyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sedentary lifestyle. Show all posts

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Inactivity – It's a Killer

New Research Names lack of exercise as Mortality Risk Raiser For Older Women.

The verdict, according to recent research: Get moving or risk coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and early death.

As reported in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the new study, focused on older women, showed that a sedentary lifestyle – spending too much of the day lying down or sitting – increased the risk of heart disease and death.

Researchers studied the five-year lifestyle and mortality statistics of more than 92,000 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 years of age, data that included an assessment of how many sedentary hours each woman spent daily.

Some of the key findings from the study:
  • Of the women researched, the average amount of daily inactivity was 8.5 hours.
  • Researchers concluded that women who remain sedentary for a cumulative 11 hours a day or more were at the greatest risk.
  • The highest amount of sedentary time was reported by women who were White, smoked, have a college degree, and have a higher body mass index, or BMI: a measure of body fat based on height and weight.
  • Women who were more sedentary were more likely to have reported falling within the past year.
  • Not surprisingly, the women who reported higher degrees of daily inactivity also tended to have higher rates of fair to poor health.
Researchers were quick to point out that these statistics, though gathered from older women, apply to people of both sexes and all ages. What surely is no surprise to most or all adults in this day and age is the fact that exercise is good for us and that inactivity is not good for us.  But these new statistics should serve as a warning siren to the risks of inadequate physical activity.  If you have any doubt, take note of this supporting data:
  • The US Public Health Service, Office of the Surgeon General reported scientific evidence in 1996 that linked regular physical activity to improved cardiovascular health.
  • According to the online journal BMJ, sitting too long (three or more hours/day) results in a reduction in life expectancy.
  • As reported in this article by Frank Claps, M. ED., CSCS, those who exercise regularly have a decreased risk of having hypertension and a lowered mortality potential.
  • Statistics from the American Heart Association indicate that a quarter million deaths each year in the United States can be attributed to a lack of regular physical activity.
  • A 2014 report from UT Southwestern Medical Center confirms that that sedentary behavior can lower cardiorespiratory fitness levels.
To reduce health risks and increase your chances for a long and healthy life, health professionals assert that any regular improvement in levels of exercise can show benefits.  Here are super-easy tips to help you start making positive health improvements through modest physical activity:
  • If you work at a desk, set an egg timer to ding every half hour or so, and use that ding as a reminder to stand up, even briefly, and take a short walk through your workplace hallways.
  • Likewise, if you are at home watching TV, keep an egg timer by your chair, set to remind you to get up and move about every half hour or hour.
  • Make a shared commitment with one or two friends to meet a couple of times a week to go for walks together. Start slow – perhaps just around the block – and eventually increase your distance or the amount of time you plan to walk together.
  • Try to incorporate moderate weightlifting into your day. This can be as simple as keeping handy a couple of one-gallon water jugs, which you can start working with at just a quarter full, eventually increasing the volume of water. Doing simple arm curls or lifting from the shoulders can help you retain muscle mass while burning calories.
  • If you work on the second or third floor at your office, consider regularly taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
One note: Even though the American Heart Association states that about nine out of 10 heart attacks occur while in a resting state – not during physical activity as many assume to be the case – there can be risks inherent to any increase in exercise, depending on your current health. So, before undertaking any new exercise program, first get the thumbs-up from your physician.

Have you made positive changes in reducing the amount of inactive time you spend daily? How did you make those changes? Please share your tips and success stories using our comments field below.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Television - How Much is Too Much?

I would like you to take a moment to think about how many hours of television you watch on a daily basis. One hour a day? Five hours a day? Chances are, you are watching too much television.

The issue with watching too much TV is that you begin to develop a sedentary lifestyle. According to, sedentary is “characterized by or requiring a sitting posture,” or “accustomed to sit or rest a great deal or to take little exercise.” Essentially, we have a bad habit of sitting on our butts too much and being lazy.

life expectancy
Watching too much television encourages a
sedentary lifestyle.
You may be asking yourself “what is so bad about being sedentary?” I too enjoy a night cuddled up on the couch watching the newest episode of Sons of Anarchy, but in doing so I am exposing myself to the negative effects of watching television. A recent study, conducted in Australia, has shown that individuals who are over the age of 25 shave 22 minutes off of their life expectancy for each hour spent watching TV.

Headed by Dr. Lennert Veerman, he and his colleagues reported their findings in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The study was based on an average of six hours of TV viewing per day, compared to a person who watches no television. Using data from the National Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study, the research team generated life expectancy tables based on the viewing habits of the average Australian.

The research claims that sedentary behavior is as bad for your health as smoking and obesity, due to the dangers created by prolonged inactivity. Watching too much television puts you at risk of developing the same health complications as the aforementioned. A previous FamilyWize blog, Is Sitting Bad for Your Health?, reveals more about sitting and life expectancy.

sedentary lifestyle
Some effects of watching television are
eating unhealthy snacks!
Think about it. When you are settling down for the night and tuning into Dancing with the Stars, you usually grab a snack and a drink. This would be fine, but most of us aren't going to slice up an apple and wash it down with a bottle of water. Instead, we scoop a bowl of our favorite ice cream, or opt for that desirable bag of sour cream and onion chips from the cupboard. We pair it with a soft drink or perhaps a nice, cold beer. These items are full of calories and contain high contents of fat. This process becomes subconsciously habitual and the long-term negative effects set in. Diabetes. Heart disease. Cancer.

So next time you are ready to sit down and indulge in a calorie-laden junk food fest, think about the possible unhealthy side effects. The affects of watching too much television and living a sedentary lifestyle may not be immediate, but that does not make them any less real. The choice is ours. Do we want that extra hour of TV, or 22 minutes to truly live?

Sedentary behavior
Get Active! Use TV to play WII or exercise.
Healthy Alternatives - Get Active!

Go for a walk/run
Do some yoga
Take a bike ride
Go for a swim
Use Wii, or Xbox

Food for thought - Healthy Snacks

Fruit smoothies
Cheese with a glass of wine (just one, don’t get carried away!)
Nutty yogurt
Celery with sunflower seed butter
Peanut butter on a banana
Homemade trail mix

Derek Slichter
Contributing Writer