Longer, slower exercise better than same amount of vigorous cardio for insulin levels

If you like long walks on the beach, you're in luck.

A recent study published in PLOS ONE found that longer, slower bouts of exercise--as well as standing instead of sitting whenever possible--can lead to healthier insulin levels, no hard sweating required.

Stand up

Standing up instead of sitting appeared to be the biggest factor in the study, as volunteers who spent two hours standing and four hours walking every day had better insulin levels--and lower triglycerides--than when they performed an hour of vigorous cycling at the gym each day. Calories burned for both the walking group and the cycling group were the same, but the difference was the time spent sitting.

“Man was meant to walk – and to walk a lot,” said Dr. Karol Watson, an associate professor of cardiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and co-director of the UCLA Center for Cholesterol and Lipid Management. “That doesn’t mean marathons, but rather to move around a lot.”

Exercise doesn't fix bad sitting behavior

Researchers say that the findings are significant in that they support other studies that show how bad prolonged sitting can be for the human body. Some research has linked it to an increased mortality risk and heart disease.

“Our experimental study on minimal activity showed that reducing sitting time causes improvement in health risk markers,” said study co-author Hans Savelberg, associate professor at Maastricht University.

The study may also explain why previous research on baby boomers showed they are less healthy than their parents were at their age--their parents spent far less time at desk jobs or in front of televisions.

And while the researchers aren't saying to give up your gym routine, it's wise to stand up and walk whenever possible, whether it's just to take a stretch break or to grab groceries from the market.

“That one hour of Zumba is great if it’s all you can get,” concluded Watson. “But you also want to walk everywhere you can.”

Source: TODAY Health

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