Scientists issue warning for anyone that spends long periods sat down
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Experts have warned that sitting down is pretty bad news for your heart and that a range of activities - including sleeping are all better for you.
Exchanging time sat down, for moderate exercise has a host of health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and helping to keep people at a lower weight.
It will probably come as no surprise that the most benefits came when people swapped sitting in favour of moderate to vigorous activities - such as a run or climbing stairs.
Doctor Jo Blodgett, of University College London, said: “While small changes to how you move can have a positive effect on heart health, intensity of movement matters.
“The most beneficial change we observed was replacing sitting with moderate to vigorous activity – which could be a run, a brisk walk, or stair climbing – basically any activity that raises your heart rate and makes you breathe faster, even for a minute or two.”
In case you’re wondering what constitutes ‘moderate activity’, the researchers say things such as a brisk walk, cycling, playing badminton or even cleaning your house count.
While ‘vigorous activity’ is things that will push your heart rate a bit higher such as jogging, hiking, fast-paced cycling or playing a game like football or basketball. So get yourself off your couch and signed up for a five-a-side team, if you want to help out your heart.
But aside from exercise, a new study, published in the European Heart Journal, monitored people across 24-hour periods to see how healthy other activities - including sleeping - were.
The participants in the study wore a device that monitored whether they were sedentary, standing, exercising or sleeping throughout the day.
As mentioned above, moderate to vigorous activity was found to be most beneficial, but researchers also found that lighter exercise, standing or even sleeping were all healthier than sitting down.
The study found that cholesterol levels improved after few as six minutes of exercise replaced sitting down - but, of course, more exercise was better.
However, the team noted that people who sleep less than six hours a day may benefit more from sleeping than exercising.
Professor Mark Hamer of UCL said: “Though it may come as no surprise that becoming more active is beneficial for heart health, what’s new in this study is considering a range of behaviours across the whole 24-hour day.
“This approach will allow us to ultimately provide personalised recommendations to get people more active in ways that are appropriate for them.”