Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Daily Inactivity, Not Just Lack of Exercise, Could Be Making You Sick

Jan. 19, 2010 -- If you are reading this while sitting down, you might want to stand up for moment.

A new editorial published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that people who sit still for prolonged periods of time -- such as desk workers or couch potatoes -- have a higher risk of disease than those who move a muscle every now and then in a non-exercise manner, such as walking up the stairs to grab a cup of coffee.

Prolonged sitting promotes a lack of whole-body muscle movement, which the Swedish-based researchers say is the more correct way to define sedentary behavior. Many people mistakenly believe the term “sedentary” refers to people who do not exercise. But the research team proposes that sedentary behavior is instead a distinct class of behaviors, unrelated to a lack of exercise, that boost bad health. Behaviors can include habits like TV watching. For example, recent evidence has shown that sitting in front of the TV for hours on end can raise your risk of early death from heart disease. A woman’s risk of metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes and heart disease, jumps 26% for every extra hour she sits in front of the TV, according to one cited study. Whole-body muscular inactivity associated with prolonged sitting has also been strongly linked to obesity and even certain types of cancer.

Although the cause-effect relationship between prolonged sitting and bad health needs to be more clearly established, researchers say it appears that muscle movement and contractions may play a role in controlling important blood fats.

The editorialists warn that the health of people who are glued to the TV or tied to a desk for extended periods is especially at risk if they forgo exercise altogether.

They encourage health care practitioners to emphasize the importance of simple, non-exercise activities, and how such simple movements may ward off bad health. “Climbing the stairs, rather than using elevators and escalators, five minutes of break during sedentary work, or walking to the store rather than taking the car will be as important as exercise,” the team says in a news release.

WebMD Health News

Heart Rate Calculator

Ensure you're exercising hard enough to get a good workout, but not strain your heart.

While you are exercising, you should count between...

-
Beats
PER
Seconds

Heart Rate Calculator

Ensure you're exercising hard enough to get a good workout, but not strain your heart.

While you are exercising, you should count between...

-
Beats
PER
Seconds