I guess that many of you are reading this article while walking with your iPad or tablet in hand. Such is the effect of a constant overpouring of articles, studies and research that many of us are quite afraid to even sit down and work. Suddenly it seems as though sitting is a sin and this trend has started quite recently but from where did the idea originate? It was as early as 1950s that the link between illness and sitting emerged when researchers found London bus drivers to be twice likelier to suffer from heart attacks compared to their bus conductor colleagues. Our increasingly sedentary lifestyle has paved way for such tremendous interest in the ills of sitting. To get away with your inactive lifestyle and bring in changes for the better (in terms of exercise, diet and stress) get in touch with our reputed dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com.
Adding Up the Hours
When you just think over your chances of sitting in a day the list seems huge-while eating breakfast, at work, inside the classroom, in the car/train/bus, meeting someone for a coffee/chat and in front of the television. For those who don’t work maybe their television viewing time increases, reading a book might be a hobby that involves sitting or they might attend classes (some art form, music or cooking) which again involve a period of sitting continuously. Sitting poses a serious threat to children and adults alike with both long-term and short-term impacts. It is imperative that you sit less despite the fact that you do ample exercise and stay active as a new study suggests that sitting for extended periods might have serious consequences on the heart. More the time that people sit greater the chances that they will injure their heart muscles.
Too much of sitting has been linked to increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and other such problems despite the fact that these people do exercise. Another serious consequence is that sitting for prolonged periods can result in heart failure wherein the heart becomes weak and unable to pump enough blood to supply oxygen to the rest of the body. It’s surprising that such a passive act as sitting which has no relationship with the heart is linked to heart failure. This invoked the curiosity of a group of researchers who began to study about troponins.
These are proteins produced by cardiac muscle cells and released when the heart muscle has been damaged. Greater the damage to the heart higher is the level of troponin production. If heart attack strikes an overwhelming amount of troponin is released into the bloodstream. It is worthy to note that slightly high troponin levels greater than what defines a heart attack is an indication that there is something wrong with the heart muscle and the damage is on the increase. If this is not stopped it would ultimately lead to heart failure. The question that remains unanswered is whether sitting increases troponin levels.
The research group studied more than 1,700 participants who were devoid of heart disease, chest pain or shortness of breath. All the participants had completed cardiac testing, given blood samples, provided health information and wore activity trackers for a week. The research team checked the participants’ blood samples for troponin levels and also looked onto the tracker to get hold of how much or little they moved in general. It was found that most of the participants were prone to sitting for 10 or more hours daily and were highly unlikely to exercise. Very few of them exercised (mostly walked) although not a lot but the higher they exercised the less sedentary they became. Such limited physical activity resulted in normal levels of troponin while those participants who exercised more were likelier to have lower amounts of troponin. Whereas, people who sat for 10 or more hours possessed higher amounts of troponin. While these levels were well-below the levels indicative of heart attack it was clearly shown that such participants were at an increased risk to suffer from cardiac injury any time. These results remained unaltered despite controlling other factors such as age, gender, body mass index and cardiac function that could affect troponin levels.
This study clearly shows that sitting was linked to unhealthy troponin levels but one has to remember that this was an observational study which can only show that sitting is linked to high troponin and does not cause troponin to rise. An inactive lifestyle is associated with a greater risk of obesity, insulin resistance and fat deposition in the heart. Hence, it is absolutely necessary that you move more and sit less for a healthier being.
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