You can't make up for 13 hours of sitting with an hour of vigorous exercise per day, a new study says. Instead, what works best is to substitute four hours a day walking and two hours standing instead of sitting time. The standing-walking subjects had significantly better results in insulin and plasma lipids, which are indicators of risk for diabetes and obesity. The subjects who burned off the same number of calories (about 500) in an hour-long exercise session had only slight improvements compared to the subjects who just sat for 14 hours a day and did no exercise.
More: Health Risks of Sitting Too Much
This is one more nail in the coffin for those of us who get paid well to sit. We really need to find ways to stand and walk throughout the day. When you think that if you spent half of the time you spend sitting just standing and moving a bit that you would burn 500 more calories per day, that is huge.
I have several tactics to increase my activity time throughout the day. The first is wearing a pedometer with a step goal and checking it often. I am driven to achieve my Nike FuelBand goal each day. Since I started wearing it a year ago, I've met the goal every single day.
But how to alert myself to eliminate long stretches of sitting? I wear a Jawbone Up which I have set to vibrate if I haven't done any walking in 30 minutes. You can find free or cheap phone apps that can do the same, such as MotionX Sleep.
Photo © New Lifestyles
Duvivier BMFM, Schaper NC, Bremers MA, van Crombrugge G, Menheere PPCA, et al. (2013) Minimal Intensity Physical Activity (Standing and Walking) of Longer Duration Improves Insulin Action and Plasma Lipids More than Shorter Periods of Moderate to Vigorous Exercise (Cycling) in Sedentary Subjects When Energy Expenditure Is Comparable. PLoS ONE 8(2): e55542. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055542