exercise

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Simple activities to be active at your desk – Part 3

Desk-based workers can spend a lot of time at their desk sitting. If you are a regular follow of this blog, you will know that high levels of sitting time can have several detrimental impacts on health and wellbeing, including on cognitive function, risk of diabetes, physical function and quality of life. Prolonged sitting – that is, sitting for a long time without taking a break – is emerging as particularly harmful, which is why we promote regular breaks from sitting at BeUpstanding. Indeed, a 2022 systematic review and meta-analysis by Loh and colleagues highlighted the beneficial effects of having regular physical activity breaks on blood sugar, insulin, and triacylglycerol measures. Their article concluded that taking short breaks from prolonged sitting results in better glycemic control and improved metabolic control compared to individuals who do not incorporate short physical activity breaks. One impact of too much sitting for too long is on our musculoskeletal health. Here, prolonged sitting can cause tight hip flexors and leg muscles. Vanroelen (2022) states that these imbalances are due to the shortened and lengthened muscles in your legs due to muscle weakness and tightness. These imbalances can lead to a compensatory hyperlordosis or excessive inward…

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“Sit less—move more and more often”: all physical activity is beneficial for longevity

This article was originally published in the BMJ Opinion on 21st August 2019. New research shows that any level of movement decreases risk of premature death, so get moving say Ulf Ekelund and Thomas Yates It is well established that physical activity of a moderate or vigorous intensity (such as brisk walking) is good for your health. More recently, it has also been shown that people in contemporary societies are spending the majority of their day sitting, and that this prolonged sitting is also linked to an increased risk for many chronic diseases and premature death. Current physical activity recommendations, including those recently updated for the US, suggest that at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity physical activity is needed to keep healthy and that prolonged sitting should be avoided. However, how much sitting is too much? This is not specified and is widely debated. In addition, are levels of physical activity below those recommended still beneficial for health and does light intensity physical activity still count? Answering these questions have huge relevance for health promotion. We performed a study to address these questions. Our results suggest strong associations between total physical activity and the risk of dying.…

An Exercise Regimen Everyone Can Squeeze In

The following article was written by Emmanuel Stamatakis and published in The Conversation on the 21st February 2019. Have you recently carried heavy shopping bags up a few flights of stairs? Or run the last 100 metres to the station to catch your train? If you have, you may have unknowingly been doing a style of exercise called high-intensity incidental physical activity. Our paper, published today in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, shows this type of regular, incidental activity that gets you huffing and puffing is likely to produce health benefits, even if you do it in 30-second bursts, spread over the day. In fact, incorporating more high intensity activity into our daily routines – whether that’s by vacuuming the carpet with vigour or walking uphill to buy your lunch – could be the key to helping all of us get some high quality exercise each day. And that includes people who are overweight and unfit. What is high intensity exercise? Until recently, most health authorities prescribed activity lasting for at least ten continuous minutes, although there was no credible scientific evidence behind this. This recommendation was recently refuted by the 2018 US Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Report. The new…

How Much Do Sedentary People Really Need To Move? It’s Less Than You Think

The following article was originally posted by the Conversation on April 23, 2019 and was written by Emmanuel Stamatakis, Joanne Gale, and Melody Ding. People who spend much of their day sitting may need to move around less than we thought to counteract their sedentary lifestyle, new research shows. Our research, published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found about 20-40 minutes of physical activity a day seems to eliminate most health risks associated with sitting. That’s substantially lower than the one hour a day a previous study has found. We spend almost all our waking day sitting, standing, or moving. The health impact of each one of these can be complex. For example, too much standing can lead to lower back problems and even a higher risk of heart disease. But sitting for too long and not moving enough can harm our health. Then there are people who sit for many hours and also get in reasonable amounts of physical activity. For example, someone who has an office job but walks to and from work for 20 minutes each way and runs two to three times a week easily meets the recommended level of physical activity. While we know moving is better than…

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