Two Minutes of Walking Can Offset Harm From Sitting; Grip Strength Linked to Heart Health

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Previous studies have linked “too much sitting” to long-term disabilities and a higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, obesity, kidney problems and even cancer. A new study finds that there could be a solution.

Researchers have now found that replacing some sitting time with a light-intensity activity such as strolling has substantial benefits in terms of mortality risk.

Actually, replacing as little as two minutes of sitting each hour with walking can lower you risk of premature death by about 33 percent, compared with people who sat almost nonstop, the study found.

This reduction in risk of developing chronic diseases is likely related to energy balance, said Dr. Srinivasan Beddhu, a professor of medicine at the University of Utah, who led the study. Walking or strolling, instead of sitting, increases the burning of calories, which can contribute to weight loss and other metabolic changes. It’s already well-established that maintaining a healthy weight has a positive affect on mortality risk.

Researchers studied data on more than 3,600 adults, most of whom reported being generally healthy at the start of the study period. The activities of the subjects were closely monitored over four years. Researchers divided each of these participant’s days into minutes spent sitting; participating in low-intensity activity; engaging in light-intensity activities, such as strolling around a room; or doing moderate to intense activities, such as jogging.

The study’s scientists were able to statistically determine participants’ overall risk of premature death and what role sitting or not sitting had played in that risk.

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Hand Grip Tied to Heart Health

Your muscle strength — as measured by the force of your grip — is linked to the healthiness of your heart and overall well-being, according to a new study published by The Lancet, a medical journal.

“This study suggests that measurement of grip strength is a simple, inexpensive risk-stratifying method for all-cause death, cardiovascular death, and cardiovascular disease,” the study said.

The research project was led by a team from McMaster University in Ontario, and the researchers set out to measure the relationship between grip strength and a variety of potentially fatal illnesses, including heart disease, cancer and other illnesses.

Study involved about 143,000 participants from 17 countries. With representation from diverse income groups, study participants were 35 to 70 years of age. The study took place from 2003 to 2009.

Using a device, researchers measured the grip strength of the participants and then followed up four years later. During the follow-up period, researchers mapped out what had happened to the study participants during the four-year interlude. The research team documented for different health events among the subjects, including death, heart attacks (fatal and nonfatal), cancer, diabetes, hospitalization for lung disease, injuries from falls and other health factors.

The results showed an inverse link between grip strength and death from any cause and from cardiovascular disease. That means the weaker the grip, the higher the chance of death from a cardiovascular event or all causes, the research shows.

“Grip strength was a stronger predictor of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality than systolic blood pressure,” the researcher said.

In contrast, the study did not find a “significant” link between grip strength and development of diabetes or hospital admission for lung disease, falls or fractures.

“This study suggests that measurement of grip strength is a simple, inexpensive risk-stratifying method for all-cause death, cardiovascular death, and cardiovascular disease,” the study said. “Further research is needed to identify determinants of muscular strength and to test whether improvement in strength reduces mortality and cardiovascular disease.”

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