none

A 10-MINUTE WALK CAN REVERSE ‘DAMAGE’ DONE BY SITTING: STUDY

12-10-2015
by 
in 

Vascular damage caused by long periods of sitting can be reversed with a simple walk, a new study has found.

New research suggests that while vascular functions can be impaired by sitting down for long stretches, a short walk is all that’s required to restore vascular health.

“It’s easy for all of us to be consumed by work and lose track of time, subjecting ourselves to prolonged periods of inactivity,” Jaume Padilla, assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri in the US, said in a recent press release.

“However, our study found that when you sit for six straight hours, or the majority of an 8-hour work day, blood flow to your legs is greatly reduced. We also found that just 10 minutes of walking after sitting for an extended time reversed the detrimental consequences.”

To come to their findings, the researchers compared the vascular functions of a group of volunteers both before and after a six-hour period of sitting at a desk. They found that the blood flow in an artery in the lower leg (called the popliteal) was significantly reduced as a result of the prolonged sedentary position. This isn’t something you want to have happen.

“When you have decreased blood flow, the friction of the flowing blood on the artery wall, called shear stress, is also reduced,” said Padilla. “Moderate levels of shear stress are good for arterial health, whereas low levels of shear stress appear to be detrimental and reduce the ability of the artery to dilate. Dilation is a sign of vascular health. The more the artery can dilate and respond to stimuli, the healthier it is.”

Fortunately, restoring blood flow to healthy levels didn’t take much – at least for the volunteers in the study. The researchers found that just 10 minutes of walking – letting the participants set their own, comfortable pace – was enough to bring vascular function back to where it should be.

But the researchers warn the findings are by no means conclusive.

The study was conducted with a very small sample size: only 11 participants took part in the experiment. And those volunteers weren’t representative of the broad swathe of society. They were all healthy young males (quite possible students from the university where the research was conducted).

But while the relatively limited scope of this research means it might not have all the answers, it does nonetheless form part of a growing body of evidence suggesting that we can overcome the harmful effects of prolonged sitting through limited bursts of activity. 

The findings are published in Experimental Physiology.

Related news & editorials

  1. 16.08.2018
    16.08.2018
    by      In
    Following extensive growth of the business, Beacon Solar (a division of Beacon Lighting Group) has changed its business (trading) name to Beacon Energy Solutions.
    Beacon Solar has been in the energy efficiency/solar market for more than 10 years, with the business initially offering residential... Read More
  2. 15.08.2018
    15.08.2018
    by      In
    BHP’s new $4.8 billion South Flank iron ore mine in the Pilbara is expected to create about 2500 jobs during construction and 600 ongoing roles. But local fabricators are quire rightly up in arms about the company’s decision to award the contract for 20,000 tonnes of structural steel work to... Read More
  3. 14.08.2018
    14.08.2018
    by      In
    The former Trade Commissioner of Denmark to Australia and New Zealand, Michael T Hansen has been named General Manager of Nilfisk in Australia.
    Originally from Denmark, Hansen has more than 25 years of experience in business development and sales.
    Over the last 9 years as Trade Commissioner, Hansen... Read More
  4. 14.08.2018
    14.08.2018
    by      In
    World-renowned physicist Dr Cathy Foley has been named CSIRO Chief Scientist with a brief to help champion science, its impact and contribution to the world. Dr Foley is best known for her work developing superconducting devices and systems that have assisted in unearthing over $6 billion in... Read More