Get Up to Ward Off Diabetes

Do you sit down for more than four hours each day? If so, it’s time to get up!

Recent research suggests that the more time you spend sitting, the higher your chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a dangerous condition marked by high blood sugar levels. It’s the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S., and it’s on the rise. Once you have diabetes, you have it for life; there’s no cure for this debilitating disease. Having diabetes also increases your risk of other health problems too, like heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and nerve damage.

The research

Results from two diabetes prevention programs were published in February 2013 in the scientific journal Diabetologia. The research showed that people who sat more than eight hours per day had the highest risk of diabetes, while people who spent less than four hours each day sitting had the lowest risk.

What’s also significant about these studies is that people’s odds for diabetes increased with sitting time regardless of how much they exercised. This means that even when physical activity recommendations are met, a person’s health can still be compromised if they sit for a large portion of the day. If you hit the gym for an hour each morning, for example, but you sit for long periods after that – whether at your desk for your job or on the couch in front of the TV – you’re putting yourself at risk for diabetes.

Move more throughout the day

In light of these findings, one step towards diabetes prevention would literally be taking more steps and sitting less. Experts say that reducing sitting time by 90 minutes each day may be enough to reduce health risks. Here’s how:

·         Stand up for breaks. At the bottom of every hour, get up from your chair, stand up and walk around for a few minutes. Those minutes can add up over the course of a day.

·         Make your job more active. Walk to a coworker’s desk and speak in person rather than using email, walk briskly around the office building during part of your lunch break and take the stairs instead of the elevator. A few times per week, consider active commuting. Walk, bike or run to and from work. If you use public transportation, get off the bus or train a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way to work.

·         Break up couch time. Don’t lounge idly on the couch in the evening watching TV. Instead, stand up often and move. Do squats and lunges during commercial breaks and spend a few minutes doing housework every half hour.

Other ways to prevent diabetes

The key to warding off type 2 diabetes is reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. The best approach to lasting weight loss is to combine healthy eating with regular physical activity. Know that weight loss does not have to be drastic to cut diabetes risk. Lowering your body weight by 5 to 10 percent- just 10 to 20 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds- can significantly lower your risk of health threats.

Tell us: How will you stand up more today?

Sources:

http://www.diabetologia-journal.org/files/Henson.pdf

http://ndep.nih.gov/am-i-at-risk/DiabetesIsPreventable.aspx