Is Sitting Hazardous to Your Health?

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It’s no secret that lazing around on the couch playing video games, watching television or surfing the Web is no way to stay fit and healthy. But new research published in the January 2011 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology takes it a step further to posit that this screen time may be the most dangerous part of your day. University College London researchers followed more than 4,500 35-and-older Scottish people and found that those who spent four-plus hours in front of screens in their spare time were almost two-and-a-half times more likely to experience heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular issues than those who spent fewer than two hours. They were also 50 percent more likely to die (of any cause). Even when exercise is factored in, the picture doesn’t significantly improve, leading researchers to believe that the act of sitting may be the problem. Extended sitting, it seems, slows down an enzyme that breaks down fats. Unless you want to install one of those crazy treadmill desks, solutions don’t exactly abound, but researchers are studying whether walking around or just standing can help. This writer typed this entire item while standing, and he’s feeling much better, thank you very much.