Michelle Reed

News

Fri, 24 Jul, 2015

Sitting is a “health hazard”

Sitting is a “health hazard”

It’s time to get off the couch and away from the computer in order to fight diabetes and heart disease, research shows.

For many adults, spending over 70 per cent of the day sitting down is the norm according to Professor Neville Owen of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute.

"Physical activity is so fundamentally important and is being under-utilised in many areas of preventative health and medicine," he said.

Prof Owen said that while the recommendation for 30 minutes of exercise each day was to be commended, this was just a small proportion of people's waking hours.

Other research has shown that the amount of time spent sitting down was a strong predictor of health problems. Another study showed that there was also benefit found from breaking up the amount of time spent sitting down, especially at work.

Research conducted by Baker IDI laboratories had participants sit down all day and then measure their blood glucose, insulin and other health levels.

"They then have one experimental day when they, very simply, just break up their sitting time every half hour, moving for two to three minutes," said Prof Owen said.

This led to "huge improvements" in their levels.

"More activity is always better, but there is still so much more to explore, such as whether three or four longer breaks during the day could make a difference," Prof Owen said. 

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