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Walking Five Minutes Every Half Hour Is The Best Remedy Against The Effects Of A Sedentary Lifestyle

PARIS, France - A study by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center has highlighted a method that most reduces the adverse effects of sitting for far too long, like diabetes and heart conditions.

As we know, a sedentary lifestyle kills: 95% of the population is exposed to the risk of deteriorating health owing to a lack of physical activity and too much time spent sitting, according to one of the conclusions of France's National Health Security Agency on the subject, published in February 2022.

The World Health Organization has reminded us that a sedentary lifestyle is one of the main risk factors for mortality from non - communicable diseases. It is, therefore, necessary to reduce time spent sitting. How can this be done? Keith Diaz, professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Medical Center (New York), wanted to know more about the best methods to break this sedentary lifestyle (time spent sitting in front of a screen, in the workplace, in transportation): how often and for how long should one sit so as not to have an adverse effect on health?

In the study, published on January 12 in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, the research team recruited 11 volunteers who sat in a chair for eight hours. They were allowed to work on a laptop, read and use their phones. Aged 40 to 60, the subjects had neither diabetes nor high blood pressure. They tested five methods for five days: first, no walking for eight hours; then one minute of walking every half hour, one minute every hour, and finally five minutes every hour. ''We monitored their diet, how long they took to eat and how long they took to go to the bathroom. We monitored when they moved and how fast they moved", Diaz said.

Significantly Lowers Blood Sugar And Blood Pressure

Conclusion: Five minutes of walking every half hour is the frequency that most mitigates the adverse effects of sitting. It is the only option that significantly lowers blood glucose and blood pressure, the cardiometabolic risk factors measured each time. ''This option had a dramatic effect on how participants responded to heavy meals, reducing blood sugar spike by 58% compared with sitting all day'', said the university's press release.

In addition, the researchers periodically measured participants' levels of mood, fatigue, and cognitive performance during the tests. With the exception of the one-minute walk every hour, all of the walking regimens resulted in a significant decrease in fatigue and an improvement in mood. None had an effect on cognition.

''In studies like this, conducted under tightly controlled laboratory conditions, you don't need to have large numbers of participants. This allows you to find ''pure'' effects'' said Diaz.

Audrey Bergouignan, a physiologist at the Institute Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien, has also studied sedentary lifestyles. ''In thin, healthy people [bedridden for the experiment], after only a few days, we observed metabolic disturbances identical to those observed in diabetic or obese people, particularly in the body's use of lipids and sugars'', the use of lipids and sugars'' the researcher said in the CNRS journal. A sedentary lifestyle literally upset one's metabolism.

Similarly, after asking people who were taking 12,000 steps a day to reduce their activity to 2,000 steps a day, ''after ten days, we saw the harmful effects of immobility - a change in the use of lipids, lower sensitivity to insulin - with a very strong correlation between the level of inactivity and these two parameters'', said Bergouignan. This is the message to get across: the trend can be reversed.

Doing anything to move more more throughout the day is good: get up regularly, take the stairs and walking on the phone.



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