Living with heart disease comes with various challenges that healthy people don’t even think of. For example, a new research published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention found that one of the factors leading to poor health in cardiovascular patients is sitting too much.
- Exercise is not enough for patients with heart disease; they need to start sitting less
- Author Dr. Stephanie Prince urges patients with coronary heart disease to reduce sedentary activities
- 278 patients with heart disease participated in the study; 8 hours a day was the average of sitting time
Besides the increased likelihood of undergoing another heart attack, patients with heart disease also face the challenge of increased need to exercise under professional guidance. We’re the point where most of our activities are sedentary – watching TV, driving in a car, screen-time on tablets; our work environment follows suit: sitting in front of a computer for a living.
Senior author Dr. Stephanie Prince, post-doctorate researcher at the University of Ottowa Heart Institute, Ontario, Canada, said that reducing the time spent sitting may be equally important as exercising.
Dr. Prince’s advice for the general population is to try and change the sedentary lifestyle by taking breaks from the aforementioned activities. Prior research had already established that sedentary behaviors are linked with increase risk of cardiovascular disease, but the new study focused on the particular effects they have on patients with heart disease.
For the study, 278 patients with coronary heart disease underwent a cardiac arrest program that taught them how to improve their levels of exercise in order to benefit from it in the long term. Patients wore a monitor bracelet during their waking hours in order to allow scientists to track their activity.
Researchers were interested in finding how much time patients spent being sedentary, or doing “light, moderate, or vigorous activity throughout the day.” Other markers of health were also monitored, such as the participants’ BMI and cardiorespiratory fitness. These health markers were then cross-referenced with the amount of time a patient spent sitting.
Even after taking the classes on how to exercise more, the patients’ sitting average was still eight hours each day. Dr. Prince said the team was surprised, as they assumed the sedentary levels would go down, but the participants still spent the majority of their day doing sedentary activities.
Results showed some differences between the sexes, with men around the age of 60 spending more time sitting – and watching TV – than women. Researchers also noted that exercising didn’t help much if people sat for longer periods, leading to higher BMIs.
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