Breaking Up Sitting Time Can Improve Health for Type 2 Diabetics

Studies on sedentary behavior have found that long periods of sitting can be harmful to health, yet new research suggests short bouts of activity can improve outcomes in inactive people.

A study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that structured exercise wasn't necessarily required for people with type 2 diabetes to improve their metabolic health: Breaking up long stretches of sitting with simple activities like taking the stairs could be enough to reduce waist circumference and raise HDL or "good" cholesterol.

“Whatever you can do to increase the amount of physical activity you do and reduce the length of time sitting will have an impact on your diabetes and general health,” study leader Catherine Falconer told Reuters.

30 minutes to better health

In the study, researchers analyzed how health outcomes might change if participants substituted just 30 minutes of sedentary behavior a day with 30 total minutes of light active behavior.

A total of 519 adults with type 2 diabetes participated in the study.

Overall, researchers found that participants didn't have to engage in moderate or vigorous exercise to see health benefits and that interrupting sitting time could help to lower BMI over time.

Similarly, a 2013 study published in PLOS ONE found that people who spent more time standing up than normal had better insulin levels than when they performed an hour of vigorous exercise each day.

"Encouraging adults with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes to break up prolonged periods of sedentary time may be an effective strategy for improving body composition and metabolic health," the authors wrote.

Source: Reuters
Image courtesy of razvan ionut/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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