How to offset harmful effect of Sitting too much

2023-01-12 13:42:40
How to offset harmful effect of Sitting too much

Sure, you’ve heard the dangers of sitting all day, but with most jobs there isn’t much you can do about it, right? Not according to a new study, which looked into the impacts of prolonged sitting.

Five minutes of light walking every half hour can help alleviate some of the increased risk that comes with sitting for long stretches of the day, according to the study published Thursday in the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

The scientific community has known for decades that sitting can increase risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancers, said Keith Diaz, the study’s lead author and assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.

But until now there haven’t been clear guidelines about how long you can sit and how often you should be moving.

The walk can be as light as 1.9 miles per hour, which is slower than most people walk normally, Diaz said. The goal is to just break up the sitting with some movement.

Several health markers were measured for different combinations of periods spent sitting and walking for this study. Although the sample size was small, the study was rigorous with strong methodology, said Matthew Buman, director of the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University. Buman was not involved in the study,

Scientists don’t yet know exactly why sitting is so bad, but the working theory is that muscles are important in regulating things like blood sugar and cholesterol levels. But when you sit for too long, your muscles don’t have the opportunity to contract and operate optimally, Diaz said.

Does five minutes every half hour still seem like a stretch? Even little “activity snacks” like one minute of walking every hour was shown to reduce blood pressure in study participants by a “sizable amount,” Diaz said.

And all the participants in the study were generally healthy adults, meaning that those with chronic conditions may see an even greater benefit, Buman said.



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