Not all types of sitting are equally unhealthy

At the same time, more sitting at work won't have any obvious negative impact on your heart health.

Some sorts of sitting around are worse to your heart than others, at least based on new research out at this time.

Working at a desk all day may not be as bad for heart health and longevity as sitting in front of a television after hours, according to a U.S. study that suggests not all types of sitting are equally harmful.

A growing body of research shows that people who are sedentary-especially those who sit for long, uninterrupted periods of time-have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death. These studies have included mainly people of European descent rather than African Americans, a group that has a higher risk of heart disease compared with whites.

Lack of sleep or mindless snacking could both cause weight gain and contribute to other risk factors for heart disease that could make people more likely to die prematurely, Yang said by email.

Different sedentary forms have unequal effects.

They looked at over 3500 volunteers who reported how much time they typically spent watching TV as well as how much they sat while working. Above all, no exercise and too much sitting can chip in obesity which is also associated to a number of ailments.

Compared to people who watched less than two hours of television daily, those who spent more than four hours in front of the TV were 49 percent more likely to die or have a cardiovascular event. However, the new study out of Columbia University reveals that not all sitting is equal, at least when it comes to health risks.

Even for the most dedicated TV watchers, moderate to vigorous physical activity-such as walking briskly or doing aerobic exercise-reduced the risk of heart attacks, stroke, or death. Their analysis found that habit of spending time sitting on the couch at home, watching TV, is more likely to raise the risk of heart diseases than the habit of spending sitting at work.

The difference probably has something to do with all the breaks we're forced to take at work, Diaz says. "So when you sit and watch TV you sit for hours at a time, 3 or 4 hours straight, versus when you're in the workplace you're going to the copy machine, or a printer, or co-worker's desk, and so you're breaking up your sitting", Dr. Diaz said. "Nearly any type of exercise that gets you breathing harder and your heart beating faster may be beneficial", said study author Keith Diaz, Ph.D.

And although occupational sitting was less problematic, Diaz notes that the same approach to movement applies at work. "Some research suggests that these small bouts of activity, we like to call them activity snacks, may be enough to reduce the harms caused by sitting", Diaz said.

The researchers suspect that the study's findings may be applicable to anyone who is sedentary, even though the study focused on African Americans.