The Sedentary Epidemic
The evidence is out – sitting for too long can cause heart disease and diabetes. Even people who exercise are not exempt from sitting all day. “Sit less, move more” is the motto of the American Heart Association (AHA). AHA recommends exercising at least 30 minutes a day. At a minimum, people should strive to walk briskly every day. This is especially pertinent for office workers. If desk-bound, workers need to get up and move a little every hour or so.
Unfortunately, even these measures may not counteract the effects of sitting at a computer all day, sitting in a car, and then relaxing on the couch in front of the TV. “Regardless of how much physical activity someone gets, prolonged sedentary time could negatively impact the health of your heart and blood vessels,” says Deborah Rohm Young, of Kaiser Permanente, Southern California.
On average, U.S. adults are sedentary for about six to eight hours a day. After the age of 60, individuals tend to spend about eight to almost 10 hours a day sitting. The sedentary epidemic is largely due to the workplace. Fewer than 20% of jobs involve some form of exertion; most jobs simply require sitting at a computer for they entire work day.
One of the main physiological effects of sitting all day is how the body uses insulin to convert food into glucose. When this process is negatively impacted, it can cause obesity, which can then lead to diabetes and heart disease.
Studies show that even a little exercise can go a long way in improving your health and prolonging your life. One particular workout that’s gaining popularity is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Essentially, this type of workout regimen alternates quick bursts of activity followed by a brief recovery period. According to the fitness and medical communities, HIIT workouts are the most effective way to improve cardiovascular health, respiratory endurance, and metabolic function. It’s the perfect way to combat sitting at work all day!
Within a short period of time, these workouts burn fat fast and continue to burn fat even after the workout. Typically, these workouts range from 20-30 minutes. There are even some apps that create 7-12 minute HIIT workouts so they’re easy to squeeze into your busy schedule.
Since most Americans work at a desk eight hours a day, five days a week, it’s no wonder that heart disease is the number one cause of death in America. And while exercising every day or at least a little every week can prevent heart disease, it’s nevertheless important to have health insurance. Contact an Empower agent today so that all your future health needs are covered!
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