It’s not a secret that many of us don’t get enough exercise and that our lack of physical activity is one of the major factors contributing to chronic disease. But it appears that our patterns of inactivity in work and leisure may be an added risk factor.
Researchers in a recent Australian study have found that resting on our haunches for extended periods, even if we exercise on a regular basis, may be adding to our health burden of diabetes.
The good news is that a simple fix can help you lower your risk of climbing blood glucose levels.
Many jobs today require long periods at a desk or computer. People will sit in the same position sometimes for hours without moving around.
In fact, participants in the study spent over 57% of waking hours in sedentary activities, with less than 5% of time associated with moderate to vigorous activity. Self-reported physical inertia has been associated with development of obesity, metabolic syndrome and impaired glucose tolerance.
David Dunstan, PhD, Associate Professor at Baker IDI Heart Diabetes Institute and study principal investigator measured response to a glucose challenge in a group of participants from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle study both during participants normal schedules and then with the inclusion of mini spurts of physical activity.
During the study participants broke up long sedentary periods by doing light and moderate activity routines, such as light and brisk walking, in designated intervals thought out the day.
The results were encouraging. Engaging in short bouts – 2 to 3 minutes- of even light activity helped lower glucose levels. Taking a movement break regularly can not only decrease your glucose levels but a 2010 study by Sato and colleagues on night workers has shown it also may increase your concentration level, which could make you more productive: something your boss would approve. Workers in the study who exercised had significantly better work performance and attention span than those who did not.
Maybe we should all take that old Elvis Presley tune to heart-a little less conversation, a little more action, please. Most of us chat away those 16 minutes a day- if, instead, we move a bit more, we could chat about how much better we feel.