Briefly Standing, Slow Walking Reduces Blood Sugar

Briefly Standing, Slow Walking Reduces Blood Sugar Briefly Standing, Slow Walking Reduces Blood Sugar

For obese people who sit for most of the day, replacing some sitting time with standing, slow walking or slow cycling reduces average blood sugar across the day and into the night, a small study finds.

“Anything you can do to bring down glucose readings throughout the day is a good thing,” said senior author Glenn Gaesser of the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at Arizona State University in Phoenix.

“We chose a typical workday because a number of (studies) indicate sitting is a health hazard, so we reckoned that trying to alleviate that by either standing or walking or cycling would help,” Gaesser told Reuters Health.

Researchers studied nine overweight or obese adults who wore continuous blood sugar monitors and blood pressure monitors during their regular, mostly-sitting eight-hour workday. One week later, participants gradually replaced some of that sitting time with standing, in intervals of 10 to 30 minutes for a total of two and half hours per day.

The following week, the same amount of sitting time was replaced with walking at a treadmill desk at a pace of one mile per hour. In the fourth week, the intervals were spent cycling on a stationary bike retrofitted to a workstation, also at an extremely slow pace with low energy expenditure.

Average 24-hour glucose was lower for standing and walking than for sitting, and was lowest on the cycling days, researchers reported in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

There was a similar pattern during the hours right after eating and even during overnight hours, with people having sustained lower blood sugar overnight after days they had cycled.

This is “not wholly surprising,” because other research in the last few years has shown that breaking up prolonged sitting has benefits on glucose over the course of a day, said Dr. Daniel Bailey of the University of Bedforshire in the UK, who was not part of the study.

Breaks in sedentary time are good, even if you don’t have access to a walking or cycling workstation, Gaesser said.