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Everyday movement can prevent pain, illness and early death. A recently released medical study found that people who sit for most of the day are 54 percent more likely to die from a heart attack than those who stand or walk.
Think about your typical day at work and at home. Are you sitting in an office, or are you in front of your home computer or your television? How long do you sit in your car to and from work? Do you drive to a restaurant, then sit down to eat? How about going to the movies and sitting for a couple of hours while being entertained? If you add up all the time you spend sitting on a daily basis, you may be surprised!
Researchers aren’t entirely sure why those who sit for most of the day are more likely to die from a heart attack, but some suspect the reason has something to do with an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL). This LPL enzyme breaks down fat in the bloodstream and turns it into energy. It was found that people who stand or move have ten times the amount of LPL coursing through their bodies than those who sit. And, unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to matter if you exercise daily because when you leave your feet, your LPL levels plummet. Even those who make time for exercise, but are otherwise sedentary, may not be active enough to combat chronic diseases such as diabetes.
But there is hope! You can reduce your risk by becoming more active throughout your day. Plus, you can reduce stiffness in your joints and lower your likelihood for developing back pain – two conditions that are all too common for those with sedentary lifestyles. Try these strategies and take charge of your personal health today:
1. Take the stairs instead of an elevator and park a little further away … it’s a good way to add steps to your day.
2. Invest in a pedometer and track your daily distance. Make it your goal to walk more than 5,000 steps per day, with an optimal goal of walking 10,000 steps daily, to ward off chronic conditions.
3. Set a timer as a reminder to get up and move throughout your day. Whenever possible, take a trip down the hall to communicate with a fellow co-worker face-to-face, instead of picking up the phone or sending an email. Also, try walking to lunch and on your breaks.
4. Host a walking meeting or plan physical activities during a traditional meeting. Your co-workers will appreciate it and you’ll benefit from more engaged, energized and attentive participants.
Communications staff edited this article. They can be reached at MedWatchToday@CommunityMedical.org.