High Inactivity Increases the Risk of Heart Disease

Information for this post was found in an article from the New York Times. To read the article in its entirety, click here.

Plenty of research has been done in the past to explore men’s exercise habits, but until recently the amount of time the men spent inactive was left largely unexplored.

This new research, done by scientists from the University of South Carolina and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, shows that men who sit the most, face the greatest risk of heart problems. They found that men who spent 23 hours or more a week watching television or sitting in a car have a 64% higher chance of dying from heart disease than those who sat for 11 hours or less.

Surprisingly, many of the men who sat for long hours exercised regularly and led active lifestyles. This suggests that unfortunately, working out does not counteract with inactivity. As a consequence of inactivity for hours at a time, your body doesn’t experience “isometric contraction of the postural muscles.” This causes your muscles subtly change when they go unused for hours, which can increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes.

However, to begin to lower these risks, you should start looking for ways to decrease physical inactivity. Find different types of activity beyond just going for a jog or a structured exercise. Try simple things such as:

  • Walk around while talking on the phone
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Do work around the house, instead of hiring someone else to do it for you
  • When watching TV, sit up instead of laying down
  • Do some work in the garden or mow your lawn
  • Instead of asking someone to bring you a drink, go get it yourself


If you would like learn more about how to maintain a healthy heart or to talk with a physician about your potential heart risk factors visit Sherman’s Heart and Vascular Center.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user @XiXiDu

About Sherman Health

Sherman Health has provided medical care to Northern IL since 1888, and is currently home to a network of over 600 physicians. The Sherman blogs are edited by me, Luke. Questions? Comments? Links? Email address is luke at shermanhealth dot com.
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One Response to High Inactivity Increases the Risk of Heart Disease

  1. By the way, check out these interesting blood pressure facts from Blood Pressure Experts.com
    – Fats — especially saturated fat — affect the health of your heart and blood vessels.
    – Stress that is long-lasting raises blood pressure
    – Studies have not indicated that calcium and magnesium supplements prevent high blood pressure.
    – The only sure way for people to know if they have hypertension is to have their blood pressure regularly measured.
    – High blood pressure/hypertension is a level consistently at or above 140mmHg and/or 90mmHg

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