Uh oh, if you sit a lot…this can actually lead to clogged coronary arteries.
Plaque buildup in the heart’s arteries is called atherosclerosis. A study led by Dr. Amit Khera at UT Southwestern showed that excessive sitting brings on heart disease.
“Each additional hour of daily sedentary time,” says Dr. Khera in the paper, “is associated with a 12 percent higher likelihood of coronary artery calcification.”
It’s worth it to sit for one to two hours less a day, says the study. Frequent breaks from your desk job at the workplace can add up to one full hour of reduced sitting time.
Dr. Julia Kozlitina, another researcher for this study, suggests a one to five minute break every hour.
• Walk about when on the phone.
• Get creative when on the phone; for example, do ball wall squats, stationary lunges or leg swings while on your mobile device.
• Also, don’t wait till you have a phone call to get up and move. March in place while waiting for a download. You can also do wall pushups or windmills while waiting for a download.
• Use the stairs instead of the elevator—even if all of your coworkers are cramming into the elevator and expecting you to join them.
• Walk to deliver a message rather than text or e-mail it.
How was it determined that excessive sitting can cause coronary heart disease (plaque buildup)?
• 2,000 subjects from the Dallas Heart Study wore a device that tracked activity for a week.
• Subjects sat 5.1 hours on average every day and averaged 29 minutes doing medium to vigorous activity.
• A strong association between sitting time and calcified plaque in the coronary arteries was unveiled.
• Here’s the unnerving part: This association was independent of gym workouts or other structured exercise sessions, and also independent of high blood pressure and diabetes.
• This means that excessive sitting is an independent risk factor for clogged arteries; gym sessions won’t cancel out this risk!
Solution to Excessive Sitting and How to Risk of Clogged Arteries (Coronary Heart Disease)
• Arrange to get a treadmill desk at work—if possible.
• At least try for a stand-up desk; there’s at least one model available that has a duo function: It can be expanded in seconds to a height that allows you to stand while working; and it can then be lowered to desk level.
• If you can’t arrange to use a treadmill desk at work, use one at home when you’re on your computer.
At the Gym…
- Stand, rather than sit, while drinking from your beverage bottle.
- Stand or walk about in between sets. If the gym isn’t crowded, you may want to walk slowly on a treadmill that’s near your lifting equipment for a few minutes in between intense sets.
- Stand while using your phone.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.