UNM professor: People should move more

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – We do it every day. But what if sitting too much could put your heart at risk. According to a University of New Mexico professor, recent scientific research indicates just that. UNM Exercise Science Professor Len Kravitz recently spoke at the university about the secret to longevity. He says it’s about putting healthspan before lifespan.

Kravitz says there’s been a shift in the field of exercise physiology over the past several years. He says scientists are now studying what happens when we sit too much.

“Mostly what’s happening is in our blood vessels. What we’re seeing is our bodies are not absorbing fat from the blood as well as they should,” said Dr. Kravitz.

Kravitz says this circulating plaque is leading to atherosclerotic plaque build up. He says that’s a combination of cholesterol and fat that gets on the inside of your blood vessels.

Over a period of time, Kravitz says it starts to stick and and harden, blocking our blood vessels. He says that can affect your heart. Kravitz tells KRQE News 13 even exercising 30 to 45 minutes a day won’t prevent build-up if we’re sitting or sedentary for the rest of the day.

So, how do we prevent it? Kravitz says, it’s simple.

“The newest research is indicating that most people would be much, much healthier if every 30 minutes of their waking day, they got up and just walked around a little bit,” Kravitz said.

Kravitz says you don’t have to walk fast but brisk walking is better than slow walking. He also suggests making excuses to move around more during your day. Here are some examples:

If you’re watching TV, get up during the commercial break and walk around. If you’re going to the grocery store or the mall, walk around first before you start shopping. Park farther away from work or a store entrance, so you have to walk farther to get where you’re going.

Kravitz also mentions the importance of resistance training as we get older. He says overloading your muscles – about eight to 12 repetitions – will help keep them stronger, protecting your muscle mass and preventing falls.

“With resistance training, we only need to do it twice a week because our muscles really progress and adapt very, very gradually and they don’t need to be trained with resistance training every single day,” Kravitz explained.

He adds working your abdominal muscles while using physio balls to protect your spine will help prevent lower back problems. Kravitz tells us 80 percent of Americans have lower back problems.

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