Standing around might be a good thing after all

This is for the admin staff and agripreneurs who spend hours in front of their computers: Scientists encourage people to replace a part of their daily sitting time with standing, especially if they don't get in physical activity the rest of the day

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Researchers from the University of Turku in Finland have discovered that the simple act of standing periodically may be able to prevent lifestyle disease.

According to Oxford Languages, lifestyle disease can be defined as “a medical condition or disorder regarded as being associated with the way in which a person lives, such as heart disease or obesity”.

The research, which was a collaborative effort between Finland’s Turku PET Centre and UKK Institute, has shown that standing is associated with better insulin sensitivity. Insulin is the key hormone which regulates energy metabolism and blood sugar levels. Incorporating daily “standing time”, as menial as it sounds, can therefore help to prevent chronic diseases.

The body’s insulin function may be disturbed by overweight, and this leads to decreased insulin sensitivity. This has a knock-on effect, as it can also increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Type 2 diabetes is one the most common lifestyle diseases worldwide.

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“Lifestyle has a strong impact on insulin resistance and the development of type 2 diabetes, and regular physical activity is known to have an important role in the prevention of these issues. However, so far, little is known about the impact of sedentary behaviour, breaks in sitting, and standing on insulin resistance,” the study says.

Taru Garthwaite, one of the researchers involved in the study, says this association has not been shown before, and these findings further encourage replacing a part of daily sitting time with standing, especially if physical activity recommendations are not met.”

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To read the full story on Health For Mzansi, click here.

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