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Exercise doesn’t help ‘sedentary’ heart patients much

Washington D.C, Nov 26 : Patients with heart disease, who sit a lot, have worse health even if they exercise, according to a new research.

“Get up and move every 30 minutes to improve health. Limiting the amount of time we spend sitting may be as important as the amount we exercise,” said lead author Dr Stephanie Prince from University of Ottawa Heart Institute, adding “sitting, watching TV, working at a computer and driving in a car are all sedentary behaviours and we need to take breaks from them.”

The researchers found that patients with coronary artery disease spent an average of eight hours each day being sedentary. They also found that patients who sat more had a higher BMI. They also had lower cardiorespiratory fitness, which was assessed using VO2 peak. This is the maximum rate at which the heart, lungs and muscles use oxygen during an exercise test (also called aerobic capacity).

“These relationships remained even when we controlled for an individual’s age, gender or physical activity levels,” said Dr Prince. “In other words, people who sat for longer periods were heavier and less fit regardless of how much they exercised.”

Practical tips to get moving:

1. Get up and move every 30 minutes

2. Stand up during TV commercials or, even better, do light exercises while watching TV

3. Set a timer and take regular breaks from your desk

4. Take lunch breaks outside instead of in front of the computer

5. Go to bed instead of sitting in front of the TV and get the benefits of sleeping

6. Monitor your activity patterns to find out when you are most sedentary.

Dr Prince emphasized that sitting less was not a replacement for exercise. “It’s important to limit prolonged bouts of sitting and in addition to be physically active,” she said. “Sedentary time may be another area of focus for cardiac rehabilitation programmes along with exercise.”

The study is published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention. (ANI)