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Sedentary work. Do you work sitting all day? Do this every half hour. Study of scientists

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In developed countries, people spend a lot of time sitting, which negatively affects their health. Growing evidence shows that prolonged sitting – an unavoidable fact of life for many workers – is dangerous even for those who exercise regularly. A study by scientists in the US shows that a short walk, even every half an hour, can undo the health damage associated with prolonged sitting.

In a study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise on Thursday, participants who got up and walked around for five minutes every half hour had lower blood sugar and blood pressure than those who sat continuously. Researchers also found that walking for one minute every hour helped lower blood pressure, but not sugar.

“If you have a job that requires you to sit most of the day or lead a largely sedentary lifestyle, there is one strategy that can improve your health and offset the health damage of sitting,” study lead author Keith Diaz told NBC News. professor at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Researchers do not know why sitting for long periods of time negatively affects our health. Diaz thinks we’re not using our leg muscles because of this position. “Muscles serve as important regulators of blood sugar levels,” he said. “If we don’t use them, everything doesn’t work properly,” he added.

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In the case of blood pressure, movement improves circulation. “When you sit, blood pools in your legs,” the professor explained. “When you regularly activate the muscles in your legs, it helps to restore regular blood flow,” he added.

DiabetesMaria Samczuk, Adam Ziemienowicz/PAP

Five minutes of walking after 30 minutes of sitting

Diaz and his team tested four different activity strategies on 11 volunteers to see which one was most likely to reduce the negative effects of sitting. They were:

– one minute of walking after every 30 minutes of sitting;

– one minute of walking after 60 minutes of sitting;

– five minutes of walking after 30 minutes of sitting;

– five minutes of walking after 60 minutes of sitting.

Which strategy was the best?

The health effects of one activity strategy were compared to those of sitting without breaks. Each of the 11 volunteers sat in an ergonomic laboratory chair for eight hours, getting up only for a toilet break and one of the above-mentioned activities they were told to perform. Blood pressure and sugar were measured during each phase of the study.

The strategy that worked best was five minutes of walking for every 30 minutes of sitting. This strategy also had a huge impact on the volunteers’ body response to large meals, resulting in a 58 percent reduction in blood pressure spikes compared to sitting all day.

All activity strategies resulted in a significant reduction in blood pressure of 4 to 5 percentage points compared to sitting non-stop for eight hours. Any type of this short activity, with the exception of walking for a minute every hour, also led to a significant reduction in fatigue and an improvement in mood.

“This study shows that even a short amount of exercise helps our body,” said Diaz, although he suspects some managers will not be happy about it. “The next important step for us is to change the culture of the workplace,” he added.

Coronary artery disease and heart strokePAP – Maria Samczuk, Maciej Zieliński

Movement at work

According to Diaz, a good way to get moving at work is, for example, to go to someone’s desk instead of sending e-mails. – If you are on the phone, you can walk. You can also bring a smaller bottle of water to work, so you have to get up every now and then to refill it.

“While the physical activity strategies suggested in the new study are not a replacement for regular exercise, they can help with the damage caused by prolonged sitting,” said Dr Ron Blankstein, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. We know sitting is bad. When you do this continuously, your blood pressure goes up, and so does your blood sugar, he stressed.

Varicose veinsMaria Samczuk/PAP

Standing desk – good or bad idea?

Diaz is not a fan of “standing desks.” “There is some evidence that they can potentially be harmful to your back and the blood vessels in your legs,” he said.

Blankstein noted that “being in one position all day, whether standing or sitting, is not good.”

“I hope employers read about this study and take it to heart that they should allow their employees to take breaks to stretch and move,” said Dr. Doris Chan, a cardiologist at NYU Langone Health. “It can even improve work efficiency,” she added.

Less sitting, longer lifeMaria Samczuk/PAP

NBC News, journals.lww.com

Main photo source: Adobe Stock

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