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Active Breaks During Prolonged Sitting Improves Health

By Editor, March 18, 2012

A study confirmed that overweight and obese people's health can improve if they take frequent short breaks of light or temperate intensity activity like walking to interrupt long sitting durations. This is because these light activities help in keeping the glucose and insulin levels under control even after taking meals with high calories level. Repeated spikes in blood sugar are often associated with "poor health outcomes, including artery stiffening and cardiovascular disease". Larger and recurrent spikes damage the artery and vein walls increasing the vulnerability to heart disease. Thus by minimizing the spikes occurrence, health is improved.

A team of researchers led by David Dunstan concluded that sitting for long periods may be harmful to health with "a risk factor for chronic diseases, including some cancers". From an experiment they conducted, results indicated that those who had frequent activity breaks in between their sitting time had an improved body response to food containing glucose. Whether the level of activity is vigorous or just a light intensity activity, the variance between the two forms of breaks is insignificant. This implies that the intensity of the exercise has no effect and what counts is just reducing the sitting time, increased frequency of standing and moving.

 

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When one is seated, the muscles are practically asleep thus the metabolization process is very low leading to fat accumulation. When walking or just standing up, muscles relax and contract. This helps to regulate the metabolic system in the body thus improved health outcomes. In addition, these light exercises help to lose weight due to the increased metabolic rate, effectively burning calories. Improved health will be realized by taking frequent active breaks during prolonged sitting irrespective of the exercise you take. Ensure you stand up regularly, stretch and walk around when working or looking at screens to relieve your eyes.

 

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