Combatting Sedentary Behavior in Youth: A Vital Step Towards Heart Health

A Vital Step Towards Heart Health
A Vital Step Towards Heart Health

United States – Those children and teenagers who are sitting all day on the couch eventually may overwork their hearts with the risk of having an attack, stroke, or even death sooner.

The Heart of the Matter

Researchers showed that, among others, sedentary behavior contributed up to 40% to the total increase in heart size between 17 and 24 years, as reported by HealthDay.

Additionally, they discovered that a bigger heart was associated with exercise deficiencies rather than other factors like obesity or high blood pressure.

The inactivity of young people during youth is an alarming statistic that researcher Andrew Agbaje alerted about in his news release. The guy is an associate professor of clinical epidemiology and child health at the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio.

“There is growing evidence that childhood sedentariness is a health threat that has to be taken seriously,” he said.

The Role of Physical Activity

However, researchers found that children who regularly engaged in light exercise cut the increase in their heart mass to 49%.

“Light physical activity is an effective antidote to sedentariness. It is easy to accumulate three to four hours of light physical activity daily,” Agbaje said.

Instruction examples include playing games outdoors, walking the dog, running errands, going to the stores on foot or on a bike, walking, cycling, and playing basketball, soccer, golf, and frisbee casually; planting trees or having a picnic at the park is also good exercise.

Strengthening Hearts Through Exercise

The kids who did cardio exercises more often rose in their cardio capability and heart mass by over 5%, which was because the exercise strengthened the heart muscle.

Study Methodology and Findings

For the study, researchers followed 1697 English youth aged between 11 and 24 until 24. Participants were fitted with motion-tracking devices at their waist belts for 4 to 7 days at the ages of 11, 15, and 24 to determine their physical activity.

In the beginning, children already spent more than six hours each day in sedentary activities.  Ultimately, these activities took them almost nine hours of their day, as reported by HealthDay.

Subjects were all undergone echocardiograms at the age of 17 and 24 in order to find their heart anatomy and function.