Standing is important to health, study finds

Want to lower the risk of chronic disease in your residents? Encourage them sit less and exercise more. The two-fold approach is key to improving health, say researchers who published the results of their study in the journal BMC Public Health.

Many people spend most of the day sitting, devoting only a 30- to 60-minute block of time to exercise or physical activity, says Sara Rosenkranz, PhD, an assistant professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University. That routine can be dangerous, however, because sitting for prolonged periods of time—with little muscular contraction occurring—shuts off a molecule called lipoprotein lipase, or LPL, she explains. LPL helps the body take in fat or triglycerides and use it for energy, Rosenkranz says.

By sitting, she says, "We're basically telling our bodies to shut down the processes that help to stimulate metabolism throughout the day, and that is not good. Just by breaking up your sedentary time, we can actually upregulate that process in the body.” Doing so can improve health and quality of life while reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, breast cancer, colon cancer and other chronic illnesses, the investigators found.

She and her colleagues came to their conclusion after studying a sample of 194,545 men and women aged 45 to 106 years who had participated in a large Australian study of health and aging.

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Topics: Clinical