Swap one hour of sitting for light exercise to reduce diabetes risk

Spending just one hour less sitting in a chair every day can help reduce your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Most people don’t even get close to achieving the recommended two-and-a-half hours of moderate intensity exercise—such as brisk walking, water aerobics, dancing or gardening—every week, and so swapping sitting for even an hour of light exercise every day could do wonders for your health.

Light exercise includes casual walking or a gentle bike ride—essentially any activity that doesn’t have you break sweat—and even this level of activity can help reduce heart disease risk, say researchers from the University of Turku in Finland.

But people who already have heart disease or diabetes probably won’t be helped by just sticking to light exercise, although it might stop the condition from worsening.

The researchers tested the impact of exercise on two groups: one spent one hour less a day sitting and replaced it by standing or doing some light exercise, while the other group carried on with their sedentary lifestyle without exercising.

After three months, the researchers found that those in the light exercise group had better blood sugar regulation, improved insulin sensitivity and better liver health.

(Source: Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 2022; doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2022.04.002)

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