Sunday, October 05, 2014
Short Walking Breaks Reduce the Dangers of Sitting Too Long
Do you need to remove all of the chairs from your office or home, or can you reduce the bad health effects of sitting for long periods by taking short walking breaks? There is good news for those of us who can't avoid long sitting spells, or who have pain when standing for long periods. Studies show that short walking breaks can reduce the cardiovascular and blood sugar effects of sitting too long.
5-Minute Walking Breaks Each Hour Maintain Blood Circulation
Sitting for long periods of time increases cardiovascular disease risks. A study published by Indiana University researchers in August, 2014 looked at the effects of sitting on blood flow in the legs, and whether taking walking breaks can help. Sitting for an hour can impair blood flow from the legs by as much as 50%
The study found that taking a five-minute walking break each hour restored blood flow from the superficial femoral artery. Their study participants were healthy but inactive young men in their 20's, just the sort of gamers and cubicle dwellers who sit too long at work and at play.
The walking breaks were at an easy walking pace of two miles per hour on a treadmill. It's a typical walking speed for a stroll down the hall or sidewalk. That may be all it takes to keep the blood flowing. The study did not look at the long-term health outcomes for taking walking breaks.
2-Minute Walking Breaks Every 20 Minutes Reduce Resting Blood Pressure
A 2014 study of middle-aged, overweight/obese adults found that 2-minute walking breaks every 20 minutes reduced their resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The subjects sat for seven hours and the blood pressure effects of either a light-intensity walk or a moderate-intensity brisk walk were measured. Walking breaks at either speed lowered blood pressure.
2-Minute Walk Breaks Improve Glucose Control and Insulin Response - But Standing Breaks Don't
A study published in 2012 found that breaking up sitting time with two-minute walk breaks every 20 minutes improved the body's response to a meal by 30%. Walking at light or moderate intensity for two minutes after each 20 minutes of sitting helped maintain glucose control and insulin response.
For those who think that a standing desk is the answer, think again. A 2014 study compared two minutes of standing with two minutes of light-intensity walking every 20 minutes of sitting. The subjects had better glucose control response with walking, but there was no difference between taking a standing break or remaining seated.
Sitting Time Alerts and Solutions
How can you remember to get up and move around? When you are deep into a project or absorbed in screen entertainment, you may want an alert.
Inactivity Apps and Devices: You can use an app to alert you when you have been inactive too long. You can set the vibrating alarm on your Fitbit to remind you to move. Other activity monitors such as the Jawbone UP and the Nike+ FuelBand SE actually detect whether you have been active and alert you to move.
If you watch commercial television, ad breaks are a good cue. Rather than using the fast-forward, get up and move around. If you circle the house or just march in place each ad break, you will never be sitting for too long at a time. Get up and create some leg muscle action to get the blood moving.
Use a treadmill desk or deskcycle to keep your legs moving while you work or enjoy screen time.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Working Out May Help Counteract Holiday Eating
Men who overstuffed but exercised showed less harm to their health in study
By Robert Preidt
Sunday, December 15, 2013 HealthDay
FRIDAY, Dec. 13, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Stuffing yourself with too many holiday goodies? Exercising daily might reduce the harmful effects to your health, according to a small new study.
Previous research has shown that even a few days of consuming far more calories than you burn can damage your health.
The new study included 26 healthy young men who were asked to overeat and who either were inactive or exercised on a treadmill for 45 minutes a day. Daily calorie intake increased by 50 percent in the inactive group and by 75 percent in the exercise group. That meant they had the same net daily calorie surplus, said the researchers at the University of Bath, in England.
After just one week of overeating, all the participants had a significant decline in blood sugar control. Not only that, their fat cells activated genes that result in unhealthy changes to metabolism and that disrupt nutritional balance.
These negative effects, however, were much lower in those who were doing daily exercise, according to the study, which was published Dec. 15 in The Journal of Physiology.
"Our research demonstrates that a short period of overconsumption and reduced physical activity leads to very profound negative changes in a variety of physiological systems," study co-author Jean-Philippe Walhin said in a journal news release. "But a daily bout of exercise stops most of these negative changes from taking place."
And holidays often mean people are eating more and exercising less, another researcher said.
"If you are facing a period of overconsumption and inactivity, which is probably quite common around Christmastime, then our study shows that a daily bout of exercise will prevent many of the negative changes from taking place even though you are gaining weight," study senior author Dylan Thompson said in the news release.
"The effects are obvious, but the underlying causes will need further study to be determined," he said. "The findings are likely to apply to other groups, like older adults and women, and perhaps to lesser amounts of [exercise]."
SOURCE: Journal of Physiology, news release, Dec. 14, 2013
Thursday, August 01, 2013
Sitting? Get Up and Move Every 30 Minutes
By Wendy Bumgardner, About.com Guide
July 22, 2013
About.com Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by our Medical Review Board
Sitting at deskIf you are a desk jockey like me, you could sit for hours at a time, then think you are fine by just going for a lunch time walk1 or hitting the treadmill after work. But a study shows that a short walking break of under two minutes every half hour helped healthy, normal weight adults regulate their blood sugar better. This is helpful advice for those of us who want to prevent metabolic syndrome2 and type 2 diabetes3.
The study used 70 healthy adults who sat for a 9-hour day. They compared the effects on blood glucose, insulin and triglyceride levels after a meal with different types of activity. One day the subject would only have a 30-minute walking break during the day. On another day they would walk for 1 minute, 40 seconds after every 30 minutes of sitting.
The short walking breaks every 30 minutes reduced glucose and insulin levels better than the 30-minute walking break, and both reduced levels compared to not getting up at all. The 30-minute walk was better at reducing triglyceride levels4. That finding is similar to a study I reported on last month that said walking after a meal helped blood sugar control5.
This study adds more evidence that sitting increases your health risks6. What should you do during a long work day? Get up every 30 minutes, and also take a walk after eating lunch. I wear a Jawbone UP 7set to vibrate after 30 minutes of inactivity.
More: Sitting time apps and inactivity monitors8 you can use to remind yourself to move.
Photo © Wendy Bumgardner
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