Death Trap 'People who sit behind a desk for hours risk developing heart disease' - Experts say

Lead scientist and Principal Investigator of the study, Gavin Bradley states that office workers should abandon their chairs for half their working day to reduce their risk of heart attacks, cancer, or diabetes.

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If you're one of those who spends the whole day seated behind a desk, you should know that this could have grave consequences on the heart eventually.

According to a new study by a team of international experts from universities and institutes in Britain, Australia and the United States, it is highly recommended to  stand, move and take breaks at various times culminating in at least 2 out of the 8 hours spent at work.

Lead scientist and Principal Investigator of the study, Gavin Bradley  states that office workers should abandon their chairs for half their working day to reduce their risk of heart attacks, cancer, or diabetes.

The recommendation is based on a new guideline recommending that people spend at least two hours, and preferably four, a day on their feet.

Bradley, who is also the Director, Active Working CIC, one of the groups that conducted the research, the average office worker sits about 10 hours a day and this includes hours spent in front of the computer, plowing through email, making calls or writing proposals – and eating lunch.

He noted that this can be dangerous, as the rate of metabolism slows down when most of us are sitting, something that could be dangerous for the heart.

According to him,

“Metabolism slows down 90% after 30 minutes of sitting. The enzymes that move the bad fat from your arteries to your muscles, where it can get burned off, slow down. The muscles in your lower body are turned off. And after two hours, good cholesterol drops 20%. Just getting up for five minutes is going to get things going again"

Consultant cardiologist, Dr. Tope Aribisala, added that the more sedentary your life is, the shorter your lifespan will be.

According to him, being obese (which is a possibility if you lead a sedentary life) has been identified as a predisposing factor for diseases such as hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and sudden death arising from strokes.

He also added that going to the gym does not exempt people from the risk of sitting down regularly. Said he,

"Even if you jog or work out every morning, if you sit for long at work, you are still at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases."

His recommendation to avoid falling into the trap of a sedentary life,

Take your calls standing. Walk around. Pace up and down. Hold standing meetings. Have walking meetings. Walk over to a colleague’s desk instead of sending an email. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Take a lunch break standing. Simple stuff.”

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