A new study from Northwestern University is the first to show sedentary behavior is its own risk factor for disability, separate from lack of modest physical activity. And, it found that sedentary behavior is almost as strong a risk factor for disability as lack of moderate exercise.

“This is the first time we’ve shown sedentary behavior was related to increased disability regardless of the amount of moderate exercise,” said Dorothy Dunlop, professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and lead author of the study. “Being sedentary is not just a synonym for inadequate physical activity.” She added, “It means older adults need to reduce the amount of time they spend sitting, whether in front of the TV or at the computer, regardless of their participation in moderate or vigorous activity.”

The study found if there are two 65-year old women, one sedentary for 12 hours a day and another sedentary for 13 hours a day, the second one is 50% more likely to be disabled.

To reduce sitting time, Dunlop has the following suggestions:

1. Stand up when you talk on the phone or during a work meeting.

2. If you are able, take the stairs instead of the elevator.

3. When you go to the grocery store, park in a space farthest away.

4. When you get up to have a glass of water, walk around the house or office.

5. Walk for short errands instead of taking the car.

Dunlop wears a device on her wrist that tracks her steps and is synced to her smartphone and computer. Along with family and friends, they keep track of each other’s progress.

“It’s great reinforcement to keep moving,” she says………    Science Daily    2/19/14


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