Heart patients spend most of their waking hours sitting, lying down, and watching television. New findings presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress (CCC) 2018 may give them enough motivation to have a more active lifestyle.
In a bid to prolong life, according to researchers, patients with cardiovascular disease need to interrupt sedentary time every 20 minutes with a seven minute bout of light physical activity. "Simple activities such as standing up and walking at a casual pace will expend more than 770 kcal in a day if done with this frequency and duration," said study author Dr. Ailar Ramadi, postdoctoral fellow, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
Previous research has shown that being sedentary for long periods could shorten life but taking breaks to move around may counteract the risk, particularly if it means burning more than 770 kcal a day. The new study by Dr. Ramadi and colleagues investigated how many breaks, and for what duration, are needed to expend 770 kcal.
The study involved 132 patients with coronary artery disease (77% were male; average age was 63 years). Participants wore an armband activity monitor for an average of 22 hours a day for five days. The activity monitor recorded the amount of energy spent during breaks from inactivity, the amount of inactive time, and the number and duration of breaks during each sedentary hour.
"Our study suggests that during each hour of sitting time, heart patients should take three breaks which add up to 21 minutes of light physical activity. This will expend 770 kcal a day, an amount associated with a lower risk of premature death," Dr. Ramadi explained.
Regarding limitations of the research, Professor Joep Perk, the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Prevention Spokesperson, noted that this was a small, observational study with no control group. "A randomised controlled trial is needed before this can become a firm recommendation," he said. "Nevertheless, regular physical activity is key to achieving a healthy life, whether you are a cardiac patient or not."
Dr. Michelle M. Graham, Scientific Programme Committee Chair of CCC 2018, said: "We are delighted to have innovative studies such as that by Ramadi and colleagues being presented at CCC. Their novel work has very practical implications, not only for patients with cardiovascular disease, but for improving prevention by altering how people work in sedentary environments."
Visiting experts from the ESC participated in joint scientific sessions with the Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) at CCC 2018, held in Toronto, Canada.
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