Sitting for too long has been found to negatively affect the health of heart patients. Experts have advised patients with heart diseases to take breaks from sitting down because inactivity can cause their health to worsen.

Now, a new study found that for obese people, sitting for prolonged periods of time can increase their risks for heart disease. In turn, reducing their sitting time can lessen their chances of developing the disease.

The Link Between Obesity And Heart Disease

In the new study, researchers found that even if obese people perform exercise, as long as they spend too much time watching TV or playing computer games, the risk for heart disease is still high.

Sedentary behavior or inactivity for long periods of time is often linked to adults with diabetes and poor cardiovascular health, experts said.

"Adults with severe obesity often have difficultly following national guidelines to participate in at least 30 minutes per day of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity for health benefits," said Wendy King, lead author of the study and an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

King suggests that sedentary behavior such as sitting in front of the computer or watching television should be replaced with physical activities such as casual stroll and light housework in order to improve cardio-metabolic health.

King and her colleagues followed 927 patients who were part of a weight-loss surgery study in the United States. For every hour that participants spent 10 minutes in sedentary position, researchers found that their odds for having diabetes increased by 15 percent. Their blood pressure also elevated by 14 percent, while their chances of developing metabolic syndrome increased by 12 percent.

Their findings are featured in the journal Preventive Medicine.

Other Ways To Improve Your Heart Health

Fortunately, as King pointed out, obese people who are at risk for developing heart disease can do something to prevent it.

1. Consume drinks rich in a chemical compound known as flavanols. Researchers have found that drinking flavanols have modest benefits to your heart health. Drinking tea and consuming food with fruits and cocoa have been found to reduce risks for heart diseases. Aside from cocoa beans and tea, flavanols can also be found in apples, pears, and pomegranates.

2. You can attend a behavioral counseling session. Losing weight and finding the discipline to avoid sedentary tasks are not easy. Experts say overweight and obese patients who are at risk for heart diseases can achieve their goal of losing weight through the help of intense behavioral counseling.

3. Drink wine or cook your food with olive oil. A past study has found that a certain compound found in wine and olive oil targets a person's gut microbes, effectively lowering risks for heart disease. The compound known as DMB (3,3-dimethyl-1-butanol) was discovered to reduce levels of another compound in the body which supports the onset of atherosclerosis. DMB lowers the risk for this particular disease, and can be found in balsamic vinegars, grape seed oils, and cold-pressed extra virgin olive oils.

4. Eat 60 grams of walnuts a day. Unless you're allergic, eating walnuts has been found to reduce cardiovascular disease risks. Researchers from the California Walnut Commission discovered that eating tree nuts lowered levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides.

5. Avoid eating too much salty food. The American or Western diet typically contains too much salt, and experts have found that 90 percent of Americans consume food with too much salt. Unfortunately, salty foods negatively affect a person's heart health. Reducing your salt intake is the best way to go.

6. Make sure to have at least seven hours of sleep. Lastly, a study by Korean researchers found that those who sleep for less than six hours a day are at a significantly higher risk of developing heart diseases, stroke or diabetes. "The 'short' sleepers should be aware of the risks of developing metabolic syndrome, which could lead them to suffer from life threatening and chronic diseases," said Dr. Jang Young Kim, the study's lead author. With that, make sure to get some proper shuteye so you could take care of your health.

Photo : Iain Watson | Flickr

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