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      Wellness at work

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      We spend 40 hours a week at our desks – that?s 2,400 minutes. According to a new study, sitting for long hours can increase the risk of a heart attack

      The average office worker can gain on average 16lbs in their first eight months, whilst working in a ?sitting? environment. Stressful workloads combined with remaining stationary for hours at a time means it?s unsurprising that few of us actually take a lunch break, get out of the office and have half an hour respite. The result? Lunches of high-carb sandwiches and caffeine at our desk become the norm ? and the only exercise we execute between 9-5 is a trip to the bathroom.

      The study, titled ?Sedentary Behavior is Associated with Coronary Artery Calcification in the Dallas Heart Study,? presented at the American College of Cardiology?s 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego explains how sitting for many hours per day is associated with increased coronary artery calcification, which in turn can increase the risk of a heart attack. From analysing heart scans and physical activity records of more than 2,000 adults, the researchers found each hour of sedentary time per day on average was associated with a 14% increase in coronary artery calcification burden.

      “It?s clear that exercise is important to reduce your cardiovascular risk and improve your fitness level,” said Jacquelyn Kulinski, MD, assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin and the study?s lead author.

      “But this study suggests that reducing how much you sit every day may represent a more novel, companion strategy (in addition to exercise) to help reduce your cardiovascular risk.”

      By simply reducing the amount of time you sit by even just an hour or two a day, or moving for one to three minutes every half hour, could have a significant impact on your future cardiovascular health.

      ?It?s really important to try to move as much as possible in your daily life; for example, take a walk during lunch, pace while talking on the phone, take the stairs instead of the elevator and use a pedometer to track your daily steps,” Kulinski said. “And if you do have a very sedentary job, don?t go home at night and sit in front of the TV for hours on end.”

      So, now is the time to make this summer the healthiest yet. Take a stroll or a cycle at lunchtime; step outside for a breath of fresh air. Studies show that standing burns 40 percent more calories than sitting, and that just 2.5 hours on your feet per day burns 350 calories -that?s 20 pounds per working year. Win-win.

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      Molly Dyson

      Former Editor – PA Life

      All stories by: Molly Dyson