Move it or Lose It: The Dangers of a Sedentary Lifestyle
Sedentary lifestyles have unfortunately become the norm in the United States, with the likelihood of complete physical inactivity increasing as we age.
A recent meta-analysis, published in the journal Sports Medicine, of existing studies on the effects of prolonged sitting revealed that most of us spend about 75% of our day sitting, and that this behavior is linked to an increased rate of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, and overall mortality.
It has long been known that sitting for long periods of time with few bouts of activity reduces insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, and increases the levels of triglycerides in the blood. Further, it is well-known that exercise, even very moderate exercise such as walking, releases endorphins in the brain that help to reduce depression.
However, this study found that physical activity of any intensity every 30 minutes or so was shown to immediately reduce concentrations of glucose and insulin in the blood. This effect lasts up to nine hours after a meal. Similarly, levels of triglycerides are also lowered, though this effect is not as immediate as the effect on blood glucose levels; triglyceride levels started to lower approximately 12 hours after physical activity.
Surprisingly, the beneficial changes are unaffected by the intensity of the exercise, the age of the participant, the weight of the participant, or the type of foods consumed by the participants.
It has already become an accepted fact that if a person decides that they want to exercise for 30 minutes a day, it will make no difference from a cardiovascular point of view whether they exercise three times a day for 10 minutes each time, or once a day for 30 minutes.
The take-home message for all of us is that we should take the opportunity to get up out of our chairs and move every 30 minutes or so.
At Laurel Bay Health and Rehabilitation Center, in the scenic beach town of Keansburg, NJ, we designed a short-term rehabilitation program whose goal is to get our patients back to their optimal level of functioning and independence as quickly as possible. We provide a tailored program of physical, occupational and speech therapy, as well as all types of specialized care under one roof.
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