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Plenty of breaks from sitting at the desk are good for hearts and waistlines: Study

August 08, 2017

"Our research showed that even small changes, which could be as little as standing up for one minute, might help to lower this health risk. It is likely that regular breaks in prolonged sitting time could be readily incorporated into the working environment without any detrimental impact on productivity, although this still needs to be determined by further research. 'Stand up, move more, more often' could be used as a slogan to get this message across."

She said that existing occupational health and safety guidelines recommend regular changes in posture and a variety of work tasks, and that these would help to incorporate more breaks from sitting in the working day, and might lead to less sedentary time overall. Practical tips that might help to do this in an office-based workplace included:

?       Standing up to take phone calls

?       Walking to see a colleague rather than phoning or emailing

?       Having standing meetings or encouraging regular breaks during meetings for people to stand up

?       Going to a bathroom on a different level

?       Centralising things such as rubbish bins and printers so that you need to walk to them

?       Taking the stairs instead of the lift where possible.

Dr Healy said that the size of the differences in the various cardio-metabolic and inflammatory risk biomarkers between the top and bottom 25% of people in terms of their sedentary time was large enough to suggest that "in theory, population-wide reductions in sedentary time of between one to two hours a day could have a substantial impact on the prevention of cardiovascular disease."

She concluded: "Prolonged sedentary time is likely to increase with future technological and social innovations, and it is important to avoid prolonged periods of sitting and to move more throughout the day. Reducing and regularly breaking up sedentary time may be an important adjunct health message, alongside the well-established recommendation for regular participation in exercise. While further evidence of a causal nature is required, less sitting time would be unlikely to do harm. It would, at the very least, contribute to increased overall levels of daily energy expenditure and could help to prevent weight gain."

SOURCE European Heart Journal