New research suggests that reducing your daily sedentary time could have a positive impact on lifestyle risk factors. It took three months for the findings to be published.
These diseases can be prevented by spending just an hour less sitting each day and engaging in light exercise. The Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport published this study.
Globally, type 2 diabetes is the most common chronic disease. These diseases are more common in overweight people who have a poor diet and are not physically active.
Regular exercise has been proven to be beneficial for weight management and prevention of disease. Many adults don’t exercise the recommended 2.5 hours per week, as they spend most of their day sitting.
Researchers from the Turku PET Centre in Finland and the UKK Institute, Finland investigated whether reducing daily sedentary time could have health benefits over a three-month period.
Participants in the research were working-age, sedentary, and physically inactive adults at higher risk for type 2 diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases.
Researchers compared two groups. The intervention was to reduce sitting time by increasing standing and light intensity physical activity. The control group was instructed not to change their normal lifestyles and to remain sedentary.
“Our research design is unique because both the sedentary activity and the physical activity of both the groups were measured with accelerometers for the entire period of three months. Activity has been typically measured only for a few weeks at the end and the beginning of previous studies. This allows for more information to be gathered about actual behaviour changes over a longer duration,” Taru Garthwaite (Doctoral Candidate) from the University of Turku, Finland.
The intervention group was able to decrease sedentary time by approximately 50 minutes per day, mainly through increased light- and medium-intensity exercise.
The researchers found that the intervention group had better health outcomes in terms of blood sugar regulation, insulin sensitivity and liver health over a three-month period.
It is encouraging to think that increasing physical activity and reducing sitting time can have health benefits. Garthwaite says that this is a better starting point than exercising more.
This is especially beneficial for those who are physically inactive.
It is possible that those who are not able to meet the weekly recommendations for physical activity will be the most benefited by replacing sedentary activities with light activity.
Reduced sedentary hours are not sufficient to prevent certain diseases, especially if there are other risk factors such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
Garthwaite says that while sitting can slow down the development these diseases, it is possible to get greater benefits by increasing physical activity and sitting less.
Next, the researchers will study how daily activity and sedentary times affect energy metabolism and body composition. They also want to determine risk factors for diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases over a six month period.