Dr's Casebook: Try to sit less to reduce heart disease risk
Dr Keith Souter writes: Computers have become such a part of life that it is hard to imagine not using one.
We take our mobile phones for granted, with the ability to contact people in any part of the world almost instantly.
With intelligent assistants like Alexa or Siri you can set timers, book reminders, switch things on in different parts of your home by just talking to the computer or phone.
These apps and gadgets have taken things to levels that science fiction writers were speculating about just a couple of decades ago, yet not seriously imagining would take place so quickly.
Yet now the prospect of driverless cars is not that far away and artificial intelligence or AI is already with us.
Now all of these things make things easier for us and they increase the amount of time we have for leisure.
However, the less activity that people indulge in, the greater is the risk of developing the diseases of modern society.
In particular, the less active one is, the greater the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Across the whole world this is the number one cause of death.
In 2021, it was responsible for one in three deaths.
Since 1997, the number of people living with cardiovascular disease across the world has doubled and it is feared that it will just continue to rise.
My rant at the start of this article does not mean that I think we should ditch these obvious benefits of technology.
I think we should all just aim at reducing the risk by adopting healthy life habits.
Number one is to avoid smoking and number two is to be a bit more active.
I was struck by a research paper published in the European Heart Journal.
It is from the international Prospective Physical Activity, Sitting and Sleep (ProPASS) consortium.
Researchers at University College in London have assessed six different movement patterns throughout the whole day.
They concluded that sitting is the worst thing you can do for prolonged periods.
They concluded that replacing a 30 minute sedentary period with moderate activity every day significantly reduces cardiovascular risk, but also reduces one’s cholesterol level and waistline.
Half an hour a day that’s all it takes.