fast-food advertising, according to Barnett, who is also an American Heart Association volunteer expert.
“Being sedentary is also associated with less time outdoors, possibly less social interaction, and less exposure to green spaces and other factors that are beneficial to health,” she adds.
How to prevent heart disease
While it can be difficult to regulate some sitting time, such as sitting while working, it’s a good idea to take frequent breaks, Barnett says.
Any amount of physical activity or movement is better than none, she notes. Replace sitting with standing and replace standing with walking, when possible.
Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity weekly, according to national guidelines.
“More activity leads to greater health benefits, and it is also recommended that adults do some muscle-strengthening activities, involving all major muscle groups, on two or more days a week,” Barnett says. “In addition to being more active and less sedentary, healthy diets and adequate sleep contribute to heart health.”
There is a well-established association between decreased physical activity and sedentary behavior with increased cardiovascular risk, says Dr. Erin Michos. She is associate director of preventive cardiology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, in Baltimore.
“As highlighted in other studies, one’s DNA is not necessarily their destiny,” Michos notes.
Even among those who have a high genetic risk for developing heart disease, following a healthy lifestyle can offset some of that risk, she says. Michos also suggests cutting back on TV.
“It’s time to put away the remote control and get moving! Maybe just listen to one of your favorite shows by audio as you go for a nice heart-healthy brisk walk,” Michos suggests.