Three Short Walks Reverse Harmful Effects Of 3 Hours Of Prolonged Sitting

Posted by on September 10, 2014 in Exercise and Fitness, Health with 0 Comments


walkPeople who sit for prolonged periods, for example office workers at a desk, have a higher chance of experiencing negative health conditions but a study by scientists at Indiana University suggests that just 3 walks of 5 minutes distributed throughout 3 hours of prolonged sitting reverses harm caused to leg arteries.

Recently studies have found that long periods of sitting has been linked to health conditions such as high cholesterol, obesity, high blood sugar, metabolic syndrome, and a larger waist circumference that is associated with metabolic disease and cardiovascular problems.  Research suggests that sitting makes muscles become slack so that they do not contract, impeding the pumping of blood to the heart.  Instead, blood pools in the legs and immediately affects endothelial function of the arteries, a condition over the long term that shares with prolonged sitting a number of similar, negative health outcomes such as hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia, diabetes, septic shock, Behcet’s disease.  Endothelial dysfunction is also itself an early marker for cardiovascular disease.

In this work the researchers assigned 12 non-obese men to one of two groups.  In the first, each man sat at a desk for 3 hours without moving lower extremities.  In the second, the men also sat at a desk but were made to walk on a treadmill at a slow gait of 2 miles per hour for 5 minutes at fixed times, 30 minutes, 1.5 hours, and 2.5 hours into the sitting.

To assess immediate effects on health, the researchers measured endothelial function of the femoral artery.  Endothelial function is measured by checking the state of inner lining of blood vessels via an easy proxy called “flow mediated dilation” (FMD) using ultrasound imaging.

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