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Standing could help lower blood sugar

 

Spending time standing instead of sitting could help lower your blood sugar levels, an Australian study claims. 

The study found replacing sitting with standing or walking not only lowers your blood sugar levels, but also cuts the amount of fat in your blood, improves cholesterol levels and helps you lose weight. 

Benefits of a non-sedentary life

The research team at The University of Queensland looked at 782 people aged between 36 and 80. 

They each had activity monitors strapped to their thighs for a week to measure how much time they spent sitting, standing, sleeping, stepping and lying. 

Blood samples were provided before the tests along with measurements of blood pressure, height, weight and waist circumference. 

Dr Genevieve Healy, senior research fellow at the University’s School of Public Health, found those who spent time standing rather than sitting had lower levels of blood sugar and blood fats. 

Stepping activities, like running or walking, also led to a drop in the size of their waistlines and their BMI. 

Dr Healy says the results back up past studies about the benefits of a non-sedentary lifestyle. 

Two hours extra standing time a day

Standing for an extra 2 hours a day resulted in a 2% drop in fasting blood sugar levels and an 11% reduction of fats in the blood. 

Longer standing times also led to increases in the ‘good’ type of cholesterol and shifted the body’s ratio away from bad cholesterol towards good cholesterol. 

By replacing sitting with 2 hours of stepping, people saw their BMI drop by 11% and their waistlines cut by 7.5cm. 

‘Get up for your heart health’

Dr Healy says the findings give a good starting point for strategies aimed at increasing the amount of time people spend standing or walking. 

She urges people to ‘get up for your heart health’. 

She adds the study could have implications for offices and may encourage employers to introduce ‘sit-stand’ desks. 

While she admits not all sitting is bad, she does want people to consider alternatives to sitting when possible. 

The researchers were also surprised at the amount of time people stood during the day, with a third of our waking hours spent on our feet. 

In an editorial to the study, Professor Francisco Lopez-Jimenez of the Mayo Clinic says in modern society sedentary behaviour is seen as a sign of economic importance, while it is labours who are more active. 


 

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