Being a couch potato is ruining your heart, study shows

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(Natural News) Exercise has long been implicated in maintaining overall health, but a recent review published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology stresses how vital it is to cardiovascular health. This paper, which was written by researchers from the U.S. and Austria, is part of an eight-part series focusing on different risk factors of heart disease. For this specific article, they compiled results from 25 publications that addressed how personal and environmental variables affected physical activity to convince patients to let go of sedentary behaviors that ruin the heart.

A previous study found that physical inactivity accounts for approximately six percent of coronary heart disease cases, a condition that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention kills more than 370,000 Americans every year. Moreover, sedentary behaviors like sitting down also increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and premature death. These case are projected to rise even higher due to new technologies that make it possible to do almost anything without even leaving your couch.

A person spends more than a third of their day in front of the computer or watching television. Based on the results of their study, replacing just one hour of this sedentary time with an equal amount of physical activity can effectively lower the risk of heart disease and all-cause mortality. Doing household chores, walking, taking the stairs or even just standing can do your health some good. But if you’re looking to achieve more heart benefits, researchers recommend doing at least 150 minutes of average intensity aerobics since this workout has been shown to improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as reduce the risk of stroke.


“Proper physical activity should be a lifelong commitment,” said Dr. Gerald Fletcher, who is a professor of medicine and cardiovascular disease at Mayo Clinic Florida and the lead author of the study.

Although everyone regardless of sex, ethnicity, or age can benefit from being physically active, you will only enjoy these benefits if you consistently do it. The authors found that those who are committed to changing their sedentary habits exhibited a 40 percent risk reduction of developing heart disease.

It’s never too early or too late to start being more active so if you truly want to improve your heart health then try changing your habits as soon as possible.  (Related: Increasing your physical activity over 6 years in middle age significantly reduces your risk of heart failure.)

How to stop being a couch potato

Once you’ve gotten used to spending hours on the couch, it might be a bit difficult to transition to a more active lifestyle. If that’s the case, then you can try out the following tips that could stop you from being a couch potato.

  • Spend more time with your loved ones — Going out with your friends and family can prevent you from giving in to the call of your couch or bed. Make your quality time even better by participating in physical activities, like going to the gym or doing sports.
  • Plan your daily schedule — Train your body to handle your active lifestyle by constantly doing your exercise routine at a specific time.
  • Try out new hobbies — It might get a bit tiring if you keep doing the same things every day so try looking for new activities and hobbies that can spark your interest and motivate you to go out and be active.
  • Limit yourself to a few episodes — Binge-watching TV shows can make you lose track of time that you’ve spent just lying or sitting down so try to limit yourself to one to two episodes per day so that you’ll still have time to do other activities.

For more articles on how having a sedentary lifestyle might affect your health, visit

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