Regular Movement, Not Exercise Alone, Needed to Combat Negative Effects of Sitting

Regular Movement, Not Exercise Alone, Needed to Combat Negative Effects of Sitting: Study

Regular readers of this blog know that we report often on the dangers of too much sitting — and the benefits of movement (for example here, here, and here).

Now a new question has been raised: If you have to sit a lot for your job, is regular exercise enough to combat the ill effects? According to a fascinating New York Times report, the answer may be no.

And those folks in the office who are always wandering — or pacing — around? They may be the ones to emulate — which could provide important insights into a well-run workplace wellness program.

The piece notes: “People who work out but also sit for long hours — active couch potatoes, you might say — may often share the same elevated risks for disease and early death as their less active peers.”

“Because these correlations were established mostly through epidemiological research based on surveys linking health and lifestyle rather than experiments, the physiological interactions between inactivity and exercise have remained largely unknown. But a study published last month in The American Journal of Physiology — Endocrinology and Metabolism is one of the first to directly compare exercisers who also sit extensively with those who are more active generally. The findings suggest that a single vigorous workout may do little to counter the effects of prolonged sitting, while strolling around frequently in addition to exercising does seem to keep the harm at bay.”

The study is titled “Prolonged sitting negatively affects the postprandial plasma triglyceride-lowering effect of acute exercise.” It concludes that the test results “[underscore] the importance of limiting sitting time even in people who have exercised.”

Said Edward F. Coyle, a professor of kinesiology and health education at the University of Texas and senior author of the study, in the New York Times: “So much sitting seems to have made the men’s bodies exercise-resistant.”

The authors “theorize that the act of sitting blocks the normal impacts of exercise.”

More evidence to keep moving at work.