Updated: Sept. 28, 2015 to include “Impact of Prolonged Sitting on Lower and Upper Limb Micro- and Macrovascular Dilator Function.”
The most recent study on this topic was published in Experimental Physiology and determined that sitting down for as much as six straight hours can impair vascular function. On the other hand, this impairment can quickly be resolved by walking for 10 minutes a day to restore vascular function.
Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine said vascular function — primarily an artery’s ability to dilate — is indicative of arterial health. “The more the artery can dilate and respond to stimuli, the healthier it is,” said Jaume Padilla, assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the MU School of Medicine.
If you’re reading this sitting down, the best thing you can do for your body is move around -even if it’s just a little bit.
Before we get started with the news of this study, we’re going to move around a bit. If you’re sitting down right now, get up, walk around the office, do ten squats or jumping jacks – do whatever you have to. Even dance in your chair for a bit. Right now. Did you do it? I’m taking your word for it. Moving on.
A recent study found that even a slight amount of physical activity may “counteract the adverse health impacts of sitting for long periods.” The small bouts of physical activity can even be so simple as fidgeting.
The study was published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine on Sept. 23, 2015, and conducted by researchers from the University of Leeds and University College London.
The researchers reported finding there was an increased risk of mortality from sitting for long periods of time by those who were “occasional fidgeters.” More active women – or those who considered themselves moderately or very fidgety – had no increased risk of mortality from longer sitting times.
Those who are physical active outside of a sedentary lifestyle such as an office job may still face an increased risk of mortality from sitting due to a failure to be active while in the workplace.
“Our results support the suggestion that it’s best to avoid sitting still for long periods of tie,” said co-lead author Dr. Gareth Hagger-John of UCL. “Even fidgeting may offer enough of a break to make a difference.”
So fidget! Twirl around in your chair, stretch at the expense of your coworkers’ raised eyebrows, take the stairs and go for a walk with that colleague you’ve been meaning to chat with. Whatever you do – keep moving!