Leading an active lifestyle to maintain good health becomes increasingly important as we age. That doesn’t mean we can’t kick up our feet and relax for some much needed me-time, but according to new research, doing so for more than around eight hours a day can increase our risk of heart failure.
A study published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure looked at how habits such as sitting or lying down for hours on end negatively impacted postmenopausal women’s health. It didn’t include getting a good night’s sleep, which is obviously helpful for things like decreasing our chances of developing dementia (we all have to catch those Zzz’s!). Researchers instead wanted to better understand the link between a lack of physical activity while awake and heart failure risk.
They found that women who reported spending over 8.5 hours a day doing these sedentary habits were 54 percent more likely to experience heart failure. However, this risk dramatically dropped to 14 percent for those who spent between 4.6 and 8.5 hours each day sitting or lying down.
Researchers concluded that being sedentary for fewer than 8.5 hours a day can help us avoid heart conditions like diabetes, stroke, and high blood pressure. While this does involve being more active and on our feet, the study authors say that it’s easier than you might expect.
“This does not necessarily require an extended bout of physical activity; it might simply be standing up for five minutes or standing and moving one’s feet in place.” Michael J. LaMonte, PhD, MPH, said in a statement. Quick and easy exercises like this can boost heart health in the long run. You can also make the time you’re sitting count by doing mini-workouts in your chair to burn belly fat.
The goal is to get your body moving every day, even if you can’t squeeze in a lengthy fitness routine. Your heart will thank you!