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Heart Health

13 January 2011

Breaks from sitting good for heart

It is becoming well accepted that, as well as too little exercise, too much sitting is bad for people's health.

It is becoming well accepted that, as well as too little exercise, too much sitting is bad for people's health. Now a new study has found that it is not just the length of time people spend sitting down that can make a difference, but also the number of breaks that they take while sitting at their desk or on their sofa. Plenty of breaks, even if they are as little as one minute, seem to be good for people's hearts and their waistlines.

It found that prolonged periods of sedentary time, even in people who also spent some time in moderate-to-vigorous exercise, were associated with worse indicators of cardio-metabolic function and inflammation, such as larger waist circumferences, lower levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol, higher levels of C-reactive protein (an important marker of inflammation) and triglycerides (blood fats).

  • 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.

 

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