Attention on the dramatic health hazards of sitting for cardiovascular and diabetes risk has rocketed since this year’s landmark study in Annals of Internal Medicine1. This prompted the journal’s editors call for more research targeting 3 questions, one of which was “How much sitting is safe?”
An early answer to what constitutes safe sitting comes from the new meta-study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise2. Researchers looked at 17 studies and found “considerable evidence of the positive effects of breaking up prolonged time spent sitting on metabolic outcomes.”
In other words, breaking up sitting time with light physical activity plus with standing reduces disease risk for physically inactive and type 2 diabetic people, but higher intensity or duration is required for improvement in young or physically active subjects.
“The type, intensity, and frequency of physical activity necessary to effectively counteract the detrimental effects of prolonged sitting may differ according to the subjects’ characteristics, especially with respect to the subjects’ habitual physical activity level.”
Dr. Weiniger’s Take:
Posture and exercise is not “one size fits all,” but a function of the individual’s genetics, history and LifeHabits. This is why a framework to effectively individualize activity prescriptions is so important. For example, with heart health it’s the return to resting pulse after exercise3. And for posture, it’s following the 1st Posture Principle (Your Body’s Designed to Move), and correcting errors in how it moves with StrongPosture® BAM (Balance-Alignment-Motion) exercise protocols4.
1 – Biswas, A., Oh, P. I., Faulkner, G. E., Bajaj, R. R., Silver, M. A., Mitchell, M. S., & Alter, D. A. (2015). Sedentary time and its association with risk for disease incidence, mortality, and hospitalization in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine, 162(2), 123-32. doi:10.7326/M14-1651. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25599350
2 – Benatti, F. B., & Ried-Larsen, M. (2015). The effects of breaking up prolonged sitting time: A review of experimental studies. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 47(10), 2053-61. doi:10.1249/MSS.000000000000065. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26378942
3 – Cardiovascular System Science: Investigate Heart-Rate Recovery Time (2014). Scientific American. Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/cardiovascular-system-science-investigate-heart-rate-recovery-time1/
4 – Weiniger, Steven (2008). Stand Taller~Live Longer: An Anti-Aging Strategy. Atlanta, GA: BodyZone Press.