Simple solution to threat posed by prolonged sitting – Otago academic
Get off your bum and move around for two minutes every half hour, for the good of your health.
The message is simple in both delivery and achievability.
It is also the key finding from an international collaborative study carried out by National Heart Foundation Research
Fellow Dr Meredith Peddie, of the University of Otago, with colleagues from the University of Prince Edward Island and
the University of Guelph in Canada.
The group reviewed 44 international studies which evaluated the acute metabolic and vascular impact of interrupting
The results, published in Sports Medicine, reveal that, compared to prolonged sitting, performing short, regularly repeated bouts of activity lowered the
concentrations of blood sugar and insulin in the bloodstream for up to nine hours after a meal.
The concentrations of fat in your blood can also be lowered, although this effect seems to be delayed, only occurring 12
– 16 hours after the activity has been initiated.
Dr Peddie says the most interesting finding is that the magnitude of the reductions in blood sugar, insulin or fat don’t
seem to be affected by the intensity of the activity performed, what you have eaten, how old you are, or how much you
“The current physical activity guidelines to sit less and move more apply to everyone.
“Most of us spend about 75 per cent of our day sitting or being sedentary, and this behaviour has been linked to
increased rates of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers and overall mortality.
“We should all be finding ways to avoid sitting for long periods, and to increase the amount of movement we do
throughout the entire day,” she says.
The group says more work needs to be done to identify the most beneficial timing, duration and mode of activity break.
Strategies need to be developed to enable those who habitually sit for long periods to perform activity breaks as part
of their everyday routine.
The Acute Metabolic and Vascular Impact of Interrupting Prolonged Sitting: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
Travis Saunders, Hayden Atkinson, Jamie Burr, Brittany MacEwen, C. Murray Skeaff, and Meredith C. Peddie.