A brief stroll each half hour might assist undo the well being harms related to extended durations of sitting, a new examine finds.
Mounting proof has advised that sitting for lengthy durations of time — an inescapable reality of life for a lot of staff — is hazardous to well being even for many who train often.
Within the new examine, volunteers who obtained up and walked for 5 minutes each half hour had decrease blood sugar and blood strain than those that sat constantly. The researchers additionally discovered that strolling for one minute each hour helped with blood strain, however not blood sugar, based on the small examine printed in Medication & Science in Sports activities & Train.
“When you’ve got a job that requires you to sit down a lot of the day or have a largely sedentary way of life, that is one technique that would enhance your well being and offset the well being harms from sitting,” mentioned the examine’s lead writer, Keith Diaz, an affiliate professor of behavioral drugs on the Columbia College Vagelos School of Physicians and Surgeons.
It isn’t clear why sitting for lengthy durations uninterrupted is dangerous to your well being, however Diaz suspects at the very least a part of the reason is that whereas we’re sitting, we aren’t utilizing our leg muscle tissues.
“Muscle groups function necessary regulators of blood sugar ranges,” he mentioned. “If we don’t use them, issues don’t work proper.”
In the case of blood strain, shifting round helps enhance circulation, Diaz mentioned. “While you’re sitting, the blood swimming pools within the legs,” he added. “While you often activate the muscle tissues within the legs, it helps restore common blood movement.”
‘Exercise snacks’ each half-hour
To take a look at one of the best ways to battle the deleterious results of sitting, Diaz and his group examined 4 completely different ‘exercise snacks’ in 11 volunteers: one minute of strolling after each half-hour of sitting, one minute after 60 minutes of sitting, 5 minutes after half-hour of sitting and 5 minutes after 60 minutes of sitting . The results of every of these methods have been in comparison with these from sitting with no breaks.
Every of the 11 grownup volunteers got here to the researchers’ lab the place they have been seated in an ergonomic chair for eight hours, getting up solely for a loo break and no matter exercise snack they’d been informed to carry out. All 11 ran by means of every of the methods, one by one, in addition to an eight-hour interval during which they solely obtained up for toilet breaks.
Blood strain and blood sugar have been measured throughout every section of the examine. The technique that labored greatest was 5 minutes of strolling for each half-hour of sitting. This technique additionally had a dramatic impact on how the volunteers’ our bodies responded to massive meals, producing a 58% discount in blood strain spikes in contrast with sitting all day.
All strolling methods resulted in a big discount of 4 to five blood strain factors, in comparison with sitting all eight hours. Each sort of exercise snack, apart from strolling one minute each hour, additionally led to vital decreases in fatigue and enhancements in temper.
The examine proves that strolling helps, Diaz mentioned, though he suspects some managers may frown on staff strolling away from their desks.
“The subsequent massive necessary step for us is to vary office tradition,” he mentioned.
The right way to take a strolling break at work
“You may stroll to a co-worker’s desk somewhat than sending an electronic mail,” he advised. “In case you’re on the cellphone, you possibly can be strolling. You possibly can convey a smaller bottle of water to work so you need to preserve getting as much as refill it.”
Whereas the methods advised within the new examine aren’t a substitute for normal train, they might assist with the harms of extended sitting, mentioned Dr. Ron Blankstein, a preventive heart specialist at Brigham and Ladies’s Hospital and a professor of drugs on the Harvard Medical Faculty.
“We do know there’s numerous hurt in sitting,” he mentioned. “While you do it with out breaks, your blood strain goes up and there are elevations in blood sugar.”
Do standing desks assist?
Whereas standing desks have turn into a giant factor, Diaz doesn’t suggest them.
“The science on standing desks remains to be largely blended,” he added. “And there’s some proof that they might probably be dangerous to your again and the blood vessels in your legs.”
Blankstein famous that “being in a single place all day, whether or not it’s standing or sitting, isn’t good.”
The findings of the brand new examine make sense, mentioned Dr. Doris Chan, a common and interventional heart specialist at NYU Langone Well being.
“I’m actually blissful this got here out,” she mentioned. “It could possibly be the beginning of one thing revolutionary. We simply want bigger research with extra folks. However this is sort of a seed that’s been planted. It opens doorways to every kind of different analysis.”
Getting up and strolling each half hour may need different advantages, comparable to loosening joints which have stiffened after lengthy durations of sitting, Chan mentioned.
“I hope that employers examine this examine and take to coronary heart that they need to be permitting their staff to take breaks to stretch and to maneuver,” she mentioned. “It would even enhance workflow.”