Sitting for long periods can worsen blood sugar levels

Thu, 01 Mar 2012
Research shows that unbroken periods of sitting result in higher blood sugar levels.

The results come from a short study carried out by the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Australia. As part of the study, participants needed to sit for a period of 5 hours. On the first experimental day, the participants had no break. In the second, they walked at an easy pace on a treadmill for 2 minutes every 20 minutes. The third experiment day involved walking at a moderate pace for 2 minutes between each 20 minutes of sitting.

The researchers found that when walking breaks were included, participants noticed a 30 per cent improvement in the body's response to meals. The improvements were similar for the walks at both an easy and moderate pace. The research indicates that having regular breaks to move the muscles appears to improve the body's ability to metabolise food. The study's participants were aged between 45 and 65 with a BMI above 30 but not on diabetic medication.

Lead researcher Professor David Dunstan notes "Being overweight has been shown to be associated with an increased susceptibility to impaired glucose metabolism. So the findings are likely to have important implications for people who already have difficulty processing blood sugars."

Finding opportunities to exercise your muscles can be difficult in office based jobs. Suggested ways to combat prolonged periods of sitting include taking brisk walks during lunch breaks and getting up to move at least once each hour. Researchers at Baker IDI note that their research could have an impact upon workplace health and safety regulations.
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