Lifestyle Health

Saturday 20 January 2018

Desk-breaks 'more important than gym' to avoid diabetes

Office worker eating at desk
Office worker eating at desk

Getting up from the desk for a five-minute wander every half hour is more important when it comes to fending off diabetes than hitting the gym, according to new research.

The findings by Leicester University academics add to evidence showing the dangers of sitting still for long periods - even if one takes exercise.

The researchers, who looked at activity levels and sedentary time in almost 900 patients, found cutting the amount of sitting time by 90 minutes a day had important health benefits.

They analysed the amount of time people spent sitting, how frequently they got up, as well as their levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

They then tried to work out how strongly these were linked to levels of blood sugar and ‘good’ cholesterol, which can be looked at to work out the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Although those who took more moderate-to-vigorous exercise did have a lower risk of developing diabetes, they found limiting sitting time was more important.

Joseph Henson, from the university’s Diabetes Research Unit, said: “These studies provide preliminary evidence that sedentary behaviour may be a more effective way to target the prevention of Type 2 diabetes, rather than just solely focusing on moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.”

Their report was published on Wednesday in the journal Diabetologia.

Current Department of Health exercise guidelines recommend people exercise moderately or harder - which means building up a sweat - for at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week.

In 2011 these guidelines were updated to state that sedentary time “is bad for your health”. However, as yet they do not lay down specific guidelines on how frequently or for how long people should get up and move around.

Stephen Adams

Online Editors

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