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The content below was published by Irish Heart Foundation

Irish Heart Foundation launched a “Chairs Can Kill” campaign this week which hoping to help everybody in Ireland sit less and reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke. But why is sitting bad for us?

Recent research has found that sitting for prolonged periods can have a serious effect on our heart health, regardless of whether or not we are exercising [1]. Here comes the science bit: the body needs energy to stand, so to provide this, enzymes in the leg muscles capture fat from the blood to be used for fuel. When you sit for long periods of time the fat is not captured, so it remains in the blood, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke. Sitting for long periods of time has also been shown to significantly reduce the level of HDL or good cholesterol, in your blood and this too increases your risk of heart disease and stroke [2].

Here are some general tips to help you reduce your sitting time and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

General tips:

Tip 1: Track how long you sit – Do you know just how long you sit for? Use our calculator on irishheart.ie
Tip 2: Set a goal- Try and reduce the amount of time you spend seated. Set a realistic goal.
Tip 3: Break the habit- Why not stand when you can? Be aware of why and when you sit and try to break the habit.

The Irish Heart Foundation has developed a sitting time calculator to help you calculate just how many hours a day you spend sitting down. You can access the calculator here. Also, download our campaign poster and this week’s infographic here to help spread the word.

In addition, why not share the results of your sitting time calculator and see how you can reduce this over the next four weeks of the campaign. Challenge your colleagues to a ‘sit less competition’ and see who manages to reduce their sitting time the most by the end of the campaign. Make sure to let us know how you are reducing your sitting time throughout the month. You can show your support for the campaign by sharing videos and pictures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn using #chairscankill.

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[1] Biswas et al., 2015 (doi: 10.7326/M14-1651)
[2] Kravitz, L. (2009) (https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/sittingUNM.html)