Doctor offers tips to break up periods of inactivity
"While we have known for many years that being sedentary is not good for you, something newer that we have learned is that even physically fit people who exercise for an hour or more a day may be at increased risk for heart disease if they are sedentary for long periods throughout the day," Rakotz said. "The authors of a recent study estimate that each hour of sitting may significantly increase your risk of heart disease ... so you want to avoid those long periods of sitting any way that you can."
The AMA has tried to help workplaces keep their employees healthy.
"Two years ago, the AMA adopted policy against sedentary behavior at the 2013 Annual Meeting, encouraging employers to offer fitness balls and standing work stations in order to promote a healthier work environment," Rakotz said. "If you’re stuck at a desk working for long hours, standing, moving around a little bit or taking a short walk is much better for you than sitting all day. These things aren’t necessarily going to build cardiovascular fitness, but they will likely help prevent the risk factor of being sedentary. When you get a lunch break, take a walk. Short periods of physical activity during the day can help offset those long periods of being sedentary."
Rakotz's other recommendations include: stand up for a few minutes; walk around if you can; when at home watching TV or reading, stand up at least once every 30 minutes for a few minutes; when possible, take a walk -- whether it’s inside or outside; take the stairs; and sit on a fitness ball at your desk instead of a traditional chair if you are able.
Organizations in this story
American Medical Association 330 N Wabash Ave Chicago, IL - 60611