Couch Potatoes, Arteries, and Your Heart

A sedentary lifestyle is an inactive lifestyle with little to no exercise. This is becoming more common in today’s society. The average American spends 6-8 hours sitting daily. Adults sit for 6 ½ hours a day, whereas teens sit for an average of 8 hours a day. Health experts are concerned with how much the American population is sitting around. Sedentary behavior is linked to an increased risk for heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and more. 

The average American spends 6-8 hours sitting daily.

The Effects of Sedentary Habits

What happens to your body while you sit? Here are some examples of the effects on your body as a result of living a sedentary lifestyle: 

  • Your body burns fewer calories, thus making you more likely to gain weight.
  • Your blood flow and circulation decreases, hence allowing fatty acids to build up in the vessels.
  • Sitting can lead to insulin resistance which can cause type 2 diabetes and obesity, two risk factors of heart disease. 
  • The body’s muscles loses strength and endurance required to support other body systems.
  • Your bones may gradually get weaker as a result of losing some mineral content. Consequently, your entire skeletal system can experience negative effects such as pain, bone spurs, inflammation, and other symptoms.
  • Without regular exercise, your immune system weakens. You may develop a hormonal imbalance. 
  • Your body will have difficulty breaking down fats and sugars. When your body doesn’t use fats, it gets stored within the vessels and potentially dangerous plaque is formed. 

The buildup of fatty substances within the blood vessels is referred to as plaque and is most often associated with atherosclerosis. This condition is related to the buildup of plaque and its effects on the arteries that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart. Atherosclerosis causes your arteries to narrow which restricts blood flow to your organs and tissues. Healthy lifestyle habits can help prevent atherosclerosis. Exercise is the key to maintaining healthy arteries. Exercise reduces your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high triglycerides and high cholesterol, all of which can damage your arteries. 

Adopting Healthy Habits

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among the United States, as well as globally. It accounts for about 20% of deaths in 2020. In order to protect your heart health, you can adopt a healthy diet and exercise regularly. The American Heart Association recommends adults obtain at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. Furthermore, it is recommended that these two and a half hours are spread throughout the week.

Incorporating regular physical activity into your lifestyle can help reduce the risk of heart disease by helping you manage blood pressure and cholesterol, regulate your blood sugar levels, and maintain a healthy weight or lose weight. Some common examples of aerobic activities include: walking, running, biking, swimming, and jumping rope. Exercise strengthens your heart. In one study, people with diabetes who exercised for about 40 minutes a day lowered their blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease risk and blood sugar levels over time. There is also evidence that it can help improve your circulation and build a “back-up system” of blood vessels that can take over if one of your arteries is blocked by disease or a clot.

There is no single thing that causes heart disease, but there are several risk factors that contribute to it. Primary risk factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and a lack of physical activity. By controlling these risk factors you reduce your chance of developing heart disease. 

In order to protect your heart health, you can adopt a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

Making A Difference

There are many different ways to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle. It is crucial to discover which method works best for you. In addition, you can try to add activity to your life in smaller ways while you are at home or at work. For instance, if you sit at a desk all day at work, try to get up once an hour and walk around the office. You can take the stairs instead of the elevator. Rather than sending an email to a colleague, walk over to their office and tell them in person. These changes may seem small, but if they become healthy habits they can make a big difference on your quality of life. 

The point is, there are many ways we can positively impact our heart health by making minor changes to our lifestyle. It is apparent that being more active benefits us and helps us live longer, healthier lives. Take your heart health into your own hands and get moving today!

ACS Diagnostics, Inc.

Know what is going on in your heart. If you have any arrhythmias or heart issues, contact us today. ACS Diagnostics can get you in touch with a Cardiologist, or get a remote test sent directly to your home. Don’t ignore your heart, take control today!