If you're looking for an incentive to get up and move, you may want to refer to a new U.S. study.
Researchers have found that for every extra hour of basically doing nothing, the risk of having hardened arteries due to the buildup of calcium deposits goes up by as much as 12 percent.
If that isn't bad news enough, they didn't find any connection between exercise and calcification. This means exercise may not offset the negative impact of prolonged sitting to increased cardiovascular risk or that between exercise and a sedentary lifestyle, the latter bears more weight as far as health goes.
The results are also significant since "this is one of the first studies to help tease out the ways in which sedentary time relates to heart disease risk by evaluating this early marker of atherosclerosis in the heart arteries," said co-author Julia Kozlitina, PhD, assistant professor of Department of Clinical Science of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Currently, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and kills more than 17 million people around the world, according to American Heart Association. As a preventive and monitoring mechanism, calcium scan is recommended for individuals with at least moderate chances of having a heart attack.
The study doesn't imply that exercising is useless, but it may help more if a person just spends less time on their seats and more time moving around.
"Remember, the recommended physical activity guidelines for adults are 150 minutes of at least moderate-intensity exercise per week," said Dr. Jacquelyn Kulinski, assistant professor of Division of Cardiovascular Medicine in Medical College of Wisconsin.
It can also help to switch regular desk with either treadmill or standing desk and to walk around during lunchbreaks.
For the study now found in Journal of American College of Cardiology, at least 2,000 participants from the Dallas Heart Study with an average age of 50 were considered. They wore a fitness tracking device to assess their sedentary period, which ranged from an hour to 11 per day, and their heart evaluated with a calcium scan. They also performed exercises with an average time of 29 minutes.
The researchers learned that most of the people who were more likely to be sedentary were already diagnosed with hypertension or diabetes. They also had a high body mass index, which is indicative of obesity. These factors have also been closely associated with higher odds of cardiovascular disease.