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Sitting less, not moving more is the key to health
You work in a busy office and YOU’RE BUSY.
You know you should build a little physical activity into your schedule. You have a gym membership, but finding time to get to the gym – is difficult.
Unfortunately, you’re not getting younger.
The BUSY life is catching up
You’re a little heavier than you want to be and your “numbers” are not so “healthy”. You know you’re at risk …….
What if adding exercise is not THE FIX ?
A group of researchers from New Zealand think more exercise is NOT the solution per se. Instead of adding exercise, they recommend subtracting sitting.
They did it in a group of office workers and it worked like a charm…………….
The team enlisted the help of Dunedin office workers, between the ages of 18 and 40, living and/or working in the vicinity of the University of Otago. To be part of the study, the participants had to be healthy, non-smokers and SEDENTARY.
At work and at home.
Only folks clocking up less than 2.5 hours of physical activity were eligible.
Ultimately 42 ladies and 28 gentlemen signed up for the challenge.
And it was a challenge….
The officing part was relatively easy.
Participants arrived at the University between 7.30 and 8.00 am in a fasted state and shortly there after, began 9 hours of “officing”. Officing options included reading, watching TV or working on a laptop computer, while SITTING.
Whilst “officing”, the partipants were served THREE “meals”, at 1, 4 and 7 hours.
The “meals” were a meal replacement shake, formulated to give 0.46 g fat, 0.54 g of protein and 1.12 g of carbohydrate, per kilogram of body weight.
The challenging part………..
Blood draws and treadmills
Lots of blood draws – to make it easier, the blood samples were taken from a venous cannula
- At the start
- On the hour, every hour, for the 9 hours
- At 30 and 45 minutes, following each “dinner”.
Sessions on a treadmill, were used to SUBTRACT from the sitting.
Bathroom trips were permitted, but the rest of the time, each participant experienced one of three scenarios, in random order
- Scenario one – sitting for 9 hours.
- Scenario two – sitting for 15 minutes, then a treadmill walk for 30 minutes, then sitting for the remaining 8 hours and 15 minutes.
- Scenario three – interrupted sitting, specifically every 30 minutes i.e. 18 times, they walked on the treadmill for 1 minute and 40 seconds
The physical activity in scenario two and three, was designed to be “the same” – 30 minutes of walking, allowing the team to compare the benefits of the two approaches.
NOTE : In reality, they aren’t “the same” – you work up more of a sweat, walking for 30 minutes, than you do, walking for a minute or two. And for the record, walking is not as strenuous as Zumba class or game of tennis.
So what happened ?
Less sitting much better
At keeping sugar and insulin levels in check.
All those blood draws, allowed the team to plot sugar and insulin levels, across the 9 hours. They then turned the bumps and dips, into a single number, which represents the shape of the curve. The single number is known as the area under the curve.
As expected, the just sitting numbers were the highest.
The average AUC for glucose was 48.8 and AUC for insulin was 3337.0.
30 minutes of moderate physical activity, didn’t move the dial much on glucose (47.2), but insulin levels were lower (3012.3).
But, the winning strategy………………………… was the interrupted sitting. The AUC for glucose dropped by 39 % (29.9) and the AUC for insulin dropped by 26 % (2470.3).
Interrupted sitting trumps exercise
When it comes to creating BETTER BODY CHEMISTRY.
So you should do it.
Set the timer on your phone and strut your STUFF (Stand Up For Fitness) every 30 minutes or so.
If you’re in the habit of reaching for a chocolate fix, more often than you would like – RUN an errand and flatten the chocolate NEED.
Walking is the ultimate way to move more – there is only one problem, you need to have somewhere to walk to. Does your neighbourhood have walkability ?
Exercising is designed to create a calorie deficit, which should mean stored calories get used and whalla……….. thinness – but this often doesn’t happen