Think you need to be a gym fanatic to dodge lifestyle diseases like type 2 diabetes or heart issues? Good news: a new study shows that even small changes can make a significant difference.
Researchers in Finland found that cutting down your sitting time by just an hour a day can improve your health in as little as three months.
The Big Problem: Our Love for the Couch
It’s no secret that diabetes and heart problems are some of the biggest health issues people face globally. And what causes them?
Well, sitting too much and not being active are high on the list. Most adults don’t get the recommended 2.5 hours of moderate exercise per week.
Instead, many of us spend the day glued to our chairs, which puts us at risk for these diseases.
For a long time, people thought the only way to tackle this problem was heavy-duty exercise.
But let’s face it, not everyone has the time or energy to hit the gym regularly. So, Finnish researchers decided to look into whether small tweaks could still give us big health wins.
The Study: Less Sitting, More Standing
The study focused on folks who didn’t exercise much and who were at risk for health issues like diabetes and heart problems. They broke the participants into two groups.
One group was asked to continue with their daily routine, which was mostly sitting. The second group was advised to sit less—by just an hour a day—and to stand or move around a bit more.
What sets this study apart is the method of tracking.
Instead of asking people to remember how much they moved, researchers gave them special devices to wear that kept tabs on their activity throughout the entire three months. This made the study results more reliable.
In the end, the group that sat less and moved more showed improvements in their blood sugar levels and even their liver health.
On average, they reduced their sitting time by almost an hour each day by including some light activities.
Why This Matters to You
If you’re one of those people who find it hard to fit exercise into your routine, this study is good news. Just reducing the time you sit could be an excellent first step to better health.
While the study points out that light activity alone may not entirely prevent diseases if you’re at high risk, it can slow down their progress.
What’s next for the Finnish team? They plan to look into how these small changes affect other aspects of health, like body composition, over a more extended period.
So, the next time you think about binge-watching your favorite series, maybe stand or pace around during the episodes. Your health could be better for it in the long run!
For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about Aspirin linked to higher risk of heart failure, and results showing this drug could reduce heart disease, fatty liver, obesity.
The research findings can be found in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.
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