A new study adds to the mounting evidence that the kind of prolonged sitting most of us do every day is killing us. That’s the bad news.
The good news — which this new study in the journal Diabetes Care also demonstrates — is that simply breaking up those long hours of sitting with a little walking can help.
Last November, at AICR’s Research Conference, we highlighted exciting research that measured several common indicators of cancer risk (like insulin resistance, waist circumference and inflammation) and found that adding even brief activity breaks decreased these indicators in ways linked to lower cancer risk.
One of the researchers we featured, Dr. Neville Owen, is the new paper’s lead author. Though he specializes in heart and diabetes research, Dr. Owen made a point in his AICR presentation last year to note that the indicators he and his colleagues are measuring are the same ones used in studying cancer risk.
Case in point: In the new Diabetes Care study, 22 overweight and obese adults engaged in a randomized trial. One group remained sitting for several hours; another group rose from their desks every 20 minutes to take a light-intensity 2-minute walk; a third group rose from their desks every 20 minutes to take a moderate-intensity 2-minute walk.
Those subjects who’d broken up their sitting time had markedly (23 to 30 percent) lower levels of glucose and insulin than those who’d sat for the whole time. This is an important finding with long-range implications for people with insulin resistance or Type 2 diabetes (the authors note that the effect of those brief bouts of activity is comparable to the effect of some drugs used in treating insulin resistance.)
But because diabetes and cancer share so many risk factors, this research has implications for those looking to lower their risk of cancer as well.
For some ways to get moving at work, watch our 3-Minute Office Workout.