Heart Attacks: Could Sitting Be Increasing Your Risk?

By Samantha Eide, Intern, Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation


Take a couple minutes and think about the amount of time in a single day that you spend sitting. For most people, the total is surprising. 


In fact, many people spend more than half of their day sitting. As a result, physical inactivity is now a leading contributor to the most common causes of death, second only to tobacco use. In 2011, heart disease, stroke and diabetes ranked in the top 10 leading causes of death in Minnesota, with heart disease landing in the number two spot.

Studies increasingly show that sitting and physical inactivity may be a factor that is increasing those death rates. The more sitting or non-exercise activity a person participates in, the greater their chance for heart disease and a potential heart attack.  

Surprisingly, research is also showing that even for people who get the recommended 150 minutes a week of physical activity, it is not offsetting the increased risks that come with too much sitting.  

So, what can you do to live a healthier, longer life? Aim for more moving and less sitting! It can help protect your heart health and help lower your risk for disease. If you do a lot of sitting at your job, while driving, or at home, there are still many ways you can incorporate more physical activity into your day. Here are a few ideas:  

  • Stand up when you are on a phone call or even walk in place while taking a call.
  • Take part of your lunch break and go for a walk.
  • Take the stairs or a longer route to the places you usually go at work.
  • Stand up and do stretches and squats throughout the day.

Get an inexpensive, but effective, mini wheel-less pedal bike that fits under your desk.