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Frequent Sitters Have Health Risks Regardless of Exercise Level

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Couch potatoes beware: even regular exercise may not be enough to overcome the adverse affects of prolonged sitting. Getting more than 4 hours a day of leisure “screen” time significantly raises the risk of mortality or coronary problems, say researchers from the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London. The study followed 4,512 participants for a little over 4 years. The participants answered a variety of questions, which addressed physical activity and screen time, among other things. During the 4 years, 325 subjects died from all causes and 215 experienced cardiac events. After combining survey information and mortality rates, the scientists determined that those who spent 4 or more hours sitting in front of a television or a computer for entertainment were 48% more likely to die from any cause and 125% more likely to experience coronary issues. What’s most concerning is that regular physical activity did not offer an exemption. “Recreational sitting, as reflected by television/screen viewing time, is related to raised mortality and cardiovascular disease risk regardless of physical activity participation.” The study appeared in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2011; 57; 292–99).

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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