Study: Even Sleeping Is Better for Heart Health Than Sitting

2 min read

Nov. 14, 2023 -- Adults are so sedentary that simply replacing a few moments of sitting with any type of activity, including sleeping and standing, can improve cardiovascular health.

That’s according to new research in the European Heart Journal conducted by the University of College London and the University of Sydney.

Researchers have found that adults are sedentary for an average of 9½ hours a day.

They looked at six studies involving 15,000 people from five countries. Participants used trackers to measure activities and heart health over a typical day.

People who participated in more rigorous activities generally saw better heart health. And even standing and sleeping brought improvements.

“When participants swapped out sitting for as little as five minutes of moderate to vigorous activity, there was a tangible positive impact on their heart health,” Fox News reported. 

A 54-year-old woman exercised for 30 minutes instead of sitting, the study said. She had a 2.4% decrease in body mass index, a 2.7% decrease in waist size, and a 3.6% decrease in blood glucose levels.

"We do hope this data reaches a broad population and impacts behavior," Matthew Saybolt, MD, medical director of the Structural Heart Disease Program at Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center, told Fox. He was not involved in the research.

"As cardiologists, we know that regular physical activity compared to a sedentary lifestyle has positive effects on blood pressure, glucose/sugar levels, body fat, cholesterol, sleep patterns and mood," Saybolt said. "All of these things are closely linked with the cardiovascular system. We encourage at least mild to moderate exercise and activity daily to all of our stable patients."