Want better quality of life? Don’t just sit there

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There’s some grim news for those of us who aren’t active. A study out of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago found that if we’re over the age of 60, every hour in a day that we sit increases our risk of becoming disabled — by 46 percent.

But it gets worse. Even if we’re active at other times, it doesn’t completely offset the results of ... sitting.

No, the study didn’t say that we definitely will become disabled if we spend too much time sitting (that’s a topic for other studies), but clearly the odds aren’t in our favor.

For the purposes of the study, researchers defined “disabled” as not being able to take care of our needs — the activities of daily living, such as getting dressed. Most of the participants spent about nine hours a day sitting.

The study looked at the level of moderate to vigorous activity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, moderate exercise is effort rated as a 5 or 6 on a scale of 0 to 10. Vigorous exercise is a 7 or 8 on that scale. One minute of vigorous activity equals two minutes of moderate activity. The study found that exercising for even 10 minutes at a time, for a total of 150 minutes a week, as well as doing muscle-strengthening exercises two days a week, brings benefits.

For even greater health benefits, researchers suggest upping the 2 1/2 hours a week to 5 hours. Muscle strengthening can include working with resistance bands, yoga and weight lifting.

While those hours don’t use up all the “sitting” time we also engage in, it does help to even the risk score with less sitting and more moving.

Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever possible. Send email to columnreply2@gmail. com. © 2014 King Features