Column: Are you sitting to death?

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Commentary by Bill Hartman

You may want to read this standing up, because it appears that sitting is the new smoking. Research shows the more you sit, the more likely you are to die from some form of chronic disease like cardiovascular disease, diabetes or cancer.  The likelihood increases as your sitting time increases, with those who sit for 75 percent of their day being at highest risk. Being sedentary is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation in the bloodstream. It is this inflammation that can lead to atherosclerosis and disease.

Overcoming your risk goes beyond getting to the gym several times per week for a vigorous workout. Working out harder is definitely a good thing for improving blood flow throughout the body that is important for health, but it does nothing to reduce the inflammation. It turns out that regular activity of much lower intensity is the key to reducing the disease promoting system inflammation. A study performed in the United Kingdom looked at how merely walking impacted the markers of systemic inflammation. Subjects of the study that walked for 30 minutes per day were shown to have a significant reduction the blood markers for inflammation regardless of whether or not they exercised harder on a regular basis.

Based on this information, consider this as your new prescription for a long and healthy life:

1. Continue to exercise vigorously at the gym 3-5 times per week.  Working hard still has a great deal of value in regards to health the your quality of life.

2. Walk for at least 30 minutes per day to keep systemic inflammation under control.

3. If you find that you must sit for prolonged periods of time, be certain to get up and move around for three to five minutes every hour to offset the negative side effects of sitting.

Fisher’s resident, Bill Hartman is a physical therapist and co-owner of Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training (IFAST). Visit ifastonline.com to learn more about Bill and IFAST.

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