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Want to live longer? Start fidgeting
[Posted: Tue 03/07/2012 by Gillian Tsoi www.irishhealth.com]
Fidgety people could live longer than couch potatoes, according to a new study in the UK.
Sedentary people who spend much of their time on activities like working at a computer or watching television may live shorter lives and have a heightened risk of developing heart disease and stroke, the researchers say.
However, reducing your 'sitting time' during the day by walking or stretching your legs intermittently - even for a minute or two at a time - could reverse the harmful effects of being sedentary and result in improved overall health.
"People are watching television for up to four hours a day and spending 60-70% of their time being sedentary, and that is because of our lifestyle and occupations," said Dr Wilby Williamson, an NHS expert in sports medicine.
He was speaking at the launch of the Fidget project, a national roadshow in the UK, sponsored by the Wellcome Trust and the London Arts in Health Forum, which is aimed at teaching people to become more healthy.
"Reducing our sitting time makes us better at breaking sugars and fats down, which can help reduce our risk of metabolic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease," he said.
Studies have shown that the amount of time we spend sitting down is associated with reduced lifespan and a higher incidence of heart disease and stroke.
"The risk factors for cardiovascular disease and longevity start to increase above two hours of television watching per day. If you can make your TV watching or screen time more active that could be beneficial. Also, make sure your are not sitting for long chunks of time. Some studies show there is a beneficial effect of breaking it up every 20 to 30 minutes," said Dr Williamson.
Although doctors still recommend that people get more than 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week to keep healthy, they said less strenuous activities could also be of benefit.
These can include things that don't feel like exercise such as standing up and bouncing on your heels, wiggling your hips to some music or taking a brief stroll around the house during a television advertisement break.
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