How This 5-Minute Trick Reverses the Damage Caused by Sitting for Too Long
Study after study has droned into us the deadly consequences of prolonged sitting. The good news is that a simple practice can reverse one of the most harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
With so much research showing how sitting for long periods is detrimental to health, some businesses have switched form sitting-desks to standing-desks. However, not every employee may be willing or able to stand eight hours a day. Now, these people may have a recourse, as scientists have found that taking a 5-minute walking break every hour may prevent the blood pooling that occurs in the legs during sitting, an effect that poses a significant health risk.
Negative Effects of Sitting
It has been shown that sitting for long periods is linked to higher cholesterol and a larger waist circumference, factors that can increase the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease. In addition, slack leg muscles associated with sitting don’t contract well enough to pump blood back to the heart effectively. As a result, blood can pool in the legs and impair the endothelial function of the arteries, which is the ability of blood vessels to expand when blood flow increases.
A 5-Minute Walk Prevents Impaired Blood Flow in Legs
In a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers at Indiana University investigated the effects of small walking breaks on blood pooling in the legs during sitting. The methodology used was to conduct two randomized trials involving 12 healthy but inactive men between the ages of 20 to 35. In the first trial, the men sat for three hours without moving their legs. During the second trial, the men also sat for three hours, but they walked on a treadmill for five minutes at the 30-minute mark, 1.5-hour mark and 2.5-hour mark. The researchers measured the function of the main leg artery every hour in both trials.
They found the blood flow of the main artery in the legs was hindered by as much as 50 percent after only one hour of sitting. Yet people who took a 5-minute walk each hour of sitting didn’t have this impaired arterial function.
“American adults sit for approximately eight hours a day,” lead author Saurabh Thosar said. “The impairment in endothelial function is significant after just one hour of sitting. It is interesting to see that light physical activity can help in preventing this impairment.” Since curtailed endothelial function is an early marker of cardiovascular disease, the intervention of 5-minute walks to prevent it is an important discovery.
Other Effects of Taking Walking Breaks During Prolonged Sitting
While working out in the gym won’t reverse the harm caused by sitting all day, several studies indicate that breaking up periods of sitting with moderate exercise can be beneficial. One study determined that taking light to moderate walking breaks during prolong sitting reduces blood pressure, and another found engaging in light activity breaks during prolonged sitting improves blood sugar levels.
So there you have it. The current study together with recent studies show taking regular activity breaks during long hours of sitting can offset blood pooling in the legs, as well as promote healthier blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Don’t let an hour of sitting go by without taking a 5-minute walking break.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.