Does sitting for long hours, an inactive lifestyle increase the risk of heart disease?

What does sitting for long hours and leading an inactive life do to your heart? The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of disease and disability. A sedentary lifestyle, which involves a lot of inactivity or a lot of sitting, doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, and increases the risk of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression and anxiety, says the WHO.

Since no one talks about how a sedentary lifestyle causes changes in your body, it remains one of the under-addressed public health issues that have gone unaddressed.

The coronavirus pandemic was first detected in December 2019 and in March 2020 most countries were locked down to contain the spread of Covid-19. People were locked in their homes, most shops and factories (except those providing essential services) were closed, schools/universities were brought online, offices were closed and work at home has become a new norm. The world has also seen bouts of Covid-19 waves in between and the sedentary lifestyle has become more common than ever.

Explaining how an inactive lifestyle leads to an increased risk of heart disease, Dr Talha Meeran, Consultant Cardiologist at Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Center in Mumbai, said: “When we look at the current burden of cardiovascular disease in the Indian population, comparing it to epidemiological data from Western countries, the heart health of our population appears to be almost a decade younger.”

“However, there are certain lifestyle-related diseases, such as diabetes, where we are number one. This has mainly to do with a decline in the quality of lifestyle, with many adopting the worst of the Our staple diet is already high in carbohydrates and this, combined with fast food consumption, appears to be impacting people of all ages, especially the younger generation,” said Dr Talha Meeran.

Dr Meeran said other environmental risk factors such as pollution, stressful work environments and major life events make a person vulnerable to cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrest.


Dr. Talka Meeran claims that exercising regularly or some form of physical activity reduces the risk of dying prematurely from heart disease.

Prolonged inactivity makes people more susceptible to cardiac arrest, she said, while regular physical activity has been shown to help protect against the first cardiac episode and reduce the risk of events recurrent heart attacks, the doctor said.


Dr. Talha Meeran also warned against vigorous exercise immediately after being inactive for a long time. Dr Meeran said: “It should be noted that any sudden and extreme change can have an undesirable impact. »

Dr Ashutosh Kumar, Senior Consultant Cardiologist/Clinical Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology (EP), CARE Hospital, Hyderabad said: “People need to understand the importance of constant movement and disconnection from constant walking [of social media]. Let’s put it this way: “The more you stare at the screen and the longer you sit, the higher your risk of heart disease and other problems increases.”

“Sitting often can increase your risk even if you exercise regularly,” Dr. Kumar said.


Dr. Kumar said that when inactivity is combined with the consumption of spices, junk foods and carbonated drinks, they increase the risk of multiple heart diseases.

He added: “Inactivity coupled with the consumption of spicy, low-fiber junk foods and carbonated or fizzy drinks increases the risk of multiple heart diseases causing blockage of the arteries. Today, due to the increase in physical inactivity, cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death among young Indians.”

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