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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.