I know by first hand experience on inactivity's effects. Many years ago when I started on my first job, I worked really hard, long hours in front of my desk, no exercise. After a year or so, my usually impeccable annual physical turned a red flag - HDL low! My doctor told me that it was due to insufficient physical activity - an remedy was to exercise. It took years of sustained exercise for me to return the index to the normal range.
A recent USA Today report showed that inactivity has a much broader, more profound consequence: "Study: The longer you sit, the shorter your life". Sitting a lot, e.g. coach potatoes, can make a person gaining fat, and more than that, according to the article, developing "inactivity physiology" . When muscles, especially those in the legs, are "sitting," they stimulate or suppress various hormones which then affect triglycerides, cholesterol and other markers for heart and other diseases.
The finding reported in the is article just give us another reason to "get up and walk".
For my job function, I can sit in front my desk all day long without moving. To break out the pattern of not moving, I plan a mid morning break and mid afternoon break just to walk in the buildings - stretch exercise, in addition to my lunch break to walk outside the building - out of air conditioned atmosphere exercise. An added benefit is a relief of ergonomic stress on my eyes, arms, and hands.
Bugling of mid section is no longer an indication of mid age in the country any more. Some people actually like their potbelly, others don't want to have one, like myself. My personal inclination is more based on fitness concern than anything else. That is why it caught my attention when another USA Today report said that "Belly fat may double risk of death for older adults ". Belly fat can be harmful even if a person is not obese!
I usually do sit-ups daily for an extended period of time, 2 ~ 4 weeks when there is any indication of bulging. However according to the article, "sit-up are useless" for burning belly fat. What can be done to fight belly fat? It's the same advice as for losing weight. Eat fewer calories and burn more through walking, bicycling and other aerobic exercise. Fortunately, I do sit ups as well as walking.
Get up, exercise, and eat properly consistently. That will solve both problems.