Health Team

Get up, get moving to combat sedentary lifestyle

The average American spends five to 12 hours a day sitting down. An increasingly sedentary lifestyle can lead to heart disease.

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These days, Americans spend more time staring at screens – be it computer, TV, tablets or phones.

It adds to a more sedentary lifestyle, which raises the risk of cardiovascular disease.

“The average United States citizen is in front of a screen, sitting down a minimum of five hours a day,” said Dr. Benson Walker, a cardiologist with Rex Healthcare. “If you talk work time, it's probably closer to 12 hours a day.”

Retired architect Archie Gupton’s job included working on computers and spending more than two hours a day in his car.

“If you would have looked at me you would think, ‘Well, there's nothing wrong with this guy.’ The reality was there was considerable issues," he said. "And that's when I started coming here daily.”

Open heart surgery forced him to make exercise a priority at the Rex Wellness Center in Raleigh.

“So I cycle now and I started working out on the equipment here, primarily at the insistence of my wife,” Gupton said.

Walker says more people are aware of the importance of a healthy diet, exercise and losing weight.

“But a lot of times, people forget about what we do the whole day – staying still for a long time and being very sedentary,” he said.

Dr. Walker tells his patients to keep a daily tally of the time you sit down in front of a screen or behind the wheel of a car. Then reduce that time with more physical activity.

After his surgery, Archie Gupton started with mild exercise and worked his way up to a very active lifestyle.

“I swim. I like the rowing machine. I like to cycle. I do stationary bikes,” he said.

Gupton plans to be around to enjoy his retirement and more time with his grandchildren.

“I know it means I'm going to have a chance to see them in the near future,” he said.



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