In a study from the Turku PET Centre and the UKK Institute in Finland, scientists found that reducing daily sedentary time can have a positive effect on the risk factors of lifestyle diseases already in three months.
Spending just one hour less sitting daily and increasing light physical activity can help in the prevention of these diseases.
Type 2 diabetes and heart diseases are the most common chronic diseases globally.
The risk of developing these diseases is increased particularly by being overweight caused by physical inactivity and unhealthy diet, and metabolic disorders often associated with it.
In this study, the team examined whether health benefits can be achieved by reducing the daily sedentary time during a three-month intervention period.
The research participants were sedentary and physically inactive working-age adults with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
The researchers compared two groups: the intervention group was guided to reduce their sitting time by one hour per day through increasing standing and light-intensity physical activity, and the control group was instructed to maintain their usual habits and sedentary lifestyle.
The intervention group managed to reduce sedentary time by 50 minutes per day on average, mainly by increasing the amount of light- and moderate-intensity physical activity.
In the three-month period, the researchers found benefits in blood sugar regulation, insulin sensitivity, and liver health in the intervention group.
The team says it is an encouraging thought that health benefits can be achieved by reducing the time spent sitting and increasing the amount of even light-intensity physical activity.
For many, this may be an easier starting point than increasing actual exercise.
It is likely that people who do not meet the weekly physical activity recommendations will benefit the most from replacing sedentary time with light physical activity.
However, the team warns that reducing sedentary time is probably not enough in itself to prevent diseases if the person has several risk factors for diabetes and heart disease.
If you care about diabetes, please read studies about high vitamin D level linked to lower dementia risk in diabetes, and green tea could help reduce death risk in diabetes.
For more information about health, please see recent studies that blueberries strongly benefit people with metabolic syndrome, and results showing drinking coffee this way can help prevent stroke and heart disease.
The study was conducted by Taru Garthwaite et al and published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.
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