Study Finds Fitness Can Offset Negative Effects of a Sedentary Lifestyle

By Nicole Loranger

In an effort to observe the long term effects of exercise on longevity and health, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology recently released a study analyzing the role of fitness in the cardiovascular health of sedentary adults. The activity levels of 874 participants were measured over a week long period and their risk factors for cardiovascular disease were evaluated in a variety of categories, including waist circumference, elevated blood triglycerides, and elevated blood pressure/treatment for hypertension. The most sedentary men and women, who sit for up to 15 hours a day, were 63% and 83% (respectively) more likely to display risk factors for cardiovascular disease than their less sedentary counterparts. The fittest 40% of the group, however, was found to have the lowest risk overall for cardiovascular disease, a statistic that did not include adults who are physically active but cardiovascularly unfit. This suggests that maintaining physical fitness can in fact offset the negative impact of long hours spent sitting, which some studies have concluded to kill as many people as smoking. Unfortunately, sitting is the reality for so many adults- in fact, the average western adult spends 9-11 hours sitting daily, a statistic that only increases with age. Even this study’s fittest group of participants were found to sit for 12-13 hours per day. Since this sedentary lifestyle appears to be a consequence of culture, it is unlikely that a decrease in these hours will be seen anytime soon; however, if the continuation of this study sees similar results, adults may be able to find a balance between fulfilling their daily responsibilities while maintaining physical health for long term positive results.

Norwegian University of Science and Technology. "Does it matter how long you sit, if you are fit? Fitness is important in offsetting the negative effects of being sedentary." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 October 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161019104445.htm>.