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Why Sit When You Can Stand? Taking frequent breaks from sitting might extend your lifespan

Sitting is associated with a diversity of health risks, but, taking short and frequent breaks might reduce many of these risks, according to recent research published in the journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Caitlin Regan/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Caitlin Regan/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Sitting down is dangerous. I know I feel guilty for a solid day of derriere reliance, butt upon further sitting-based research – I now feel both guilty and concerned.

The negative consequences of sitting are numerous: reduced bone density, insulin-resistance, high blood pressure, back misalignment, and so on. Basically, by sitting down, your legs cease moving, and this lack of movement impedes the proper flow of blood around your body. With improper blood circulation, the inside walls of your blood vessels become less efficient at dilating and constricting – the motions required to move blood around.

Thanks to recent research in sports science, we have evidence to support a simple solution.

The study had young male subjects a) sit for three hours non-stop or b) sit for three hours but with three punctuations of 5 minute walks. The group who sat for three straight hours had a significant decrease in blood flow to their legs. However, the group who went for the three short walks experienced no reduction in the blood flow or arterial dilation of the legs.

This study used only 12 participants, a small sample, and so must be repeated on a larger scale before we can make generalisations. However, the researchers suggest this study to be some of the first empirical evidence for an oft-detected connection between breaks from sitting and better health.

Originally published on Think Inc.

Story source: ScienceAlert

Research paper: Thosar, Saurabh S.; Bielko, Sylvanna L.; Mather, Kieren J.; Johnston, Jeanne D.; Wallace, Janet P. (2014) Effect of Prolonged Sitting and Breaks in Sitting Time on Endothelial FunctionMedicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000479