Herald Sun

Don’t sit and wait for ill-health

- MAR­GARET SCHEIKOWSK­I

AUS­TRALIANS need to va­cate their couches, chairs and com­put­ers in the fight against di­a­betes and heart dis­ease.

Many adults can spend more than 70 per cent of their day sit­ting, be­ing vir­tu­ally im­mo­bile, says Prof Neville Owen, of the Baker IDI Heart and Di­a­betes In­sti­tute.

“Phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity is so fun­da­men­tally im­por­tant and is be­ing un­der-utilised in many ar­eas of pre­ven­tive health and medicine,” he said. While the rec­om­mended daily 30 min­utes of mod­er­ate to vig­or­ous ex­er­cise was to be com­mended, Prof Owen said this was only a tiny pro­por­tion of peo­ple’s wak­ing hours.

Stud­ies had shown that sit­ting time was a strong pre­dic­tor of health risks and re­sult­ing pre­ma­ture deaths, while oth­ers had shown the ben­e­fits of break­ing up sit­ting time, es­pe­cially in the work­place. Baker IDI had done re­search where peo­ple sat all day then had their blood glu­cose, in­sulin and other lev­els mea­sured.

“They then have one ex­per­i­men­tal day when they just break up their sit­ting time ev­ery half an hour, mov­ing for two to three min­utes,” Prof Owen said.

This re­sulted in “huge im­prove­ments” in their lev­els.

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