It’s now becoming more evident that the amount of time we spend sitting may have a negative impact on our health, especially in relation to cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, research also suggests that these effects can be counteracted through becoming more active!
A recent study of 2,223 participant used accelerometer data to measure activity levels, including periods of inactivity as well as undergoing a submaximal exercise test on a treadmill. The results found sitting to be linked to lower cardiovascular fitness and not surprisingly, those who spent less time sitting had better fitness compared to more sedentary participants. As expected sedentary, behaviour was found to have an inverse association with fitness. The study also identified the negative impacts of six hours of sitting to the magnitude of benefit from just one hour of exercise, sitting less and moving more is key to improved fitness and therefore improved health!
This gives a clear message, to reduce time spent sitting and to become more active. Whilst many people view becoming more active as engaging exercise, the best way to become more active is by increasing activity levels throughout the day; walking to the shops instead of driving, walking the dog, dancing around the house, taking the stairs instead of the lift or even standing on one leg whilst brushing your teeth. For those who spend much of their day sat at a desk, going for a walk on breaks or simply standing more often can be beneficial (this is why standing desks are great!)
There a many ways to become more active, reducing the time spent sitting and subsequently improving health and fitness. This study provides further support to the fact that any activity is better than not at all!
Adie Blanchard – Researcher