Rise up Mzansi, because periodic standing could prevent chronic lifestyle diseases. This is according to researchers from the University of Turku who noticed that standing is associated with better insulin sensitivity.
Insulin is a key hormone in energy metabolism and the regulation of blood sugar. A team of Finnish researchers noticed that standing is associated with better insulin sensitivity. Increasing the daily standing time may therefore help prevent chronic diseases.
The University of Turku recently published its study in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.
Normal insulin function in the body may be disturbed by being overweight, leading to decreased insulin sensitivity and increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
“This association has not been shown before. These findings further encourage replacing a part of daily sitting time with standing, especially if physical activity recommendations are not met,” says doctoral candidate Taru Garthwaite from the University of Turku.
Get up, stand up
Type 2 diabetes is one the most common lifestyle diseases worldwide, and its onset is usually preceded by impaired insulin sensitivity, or insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance refers to a state in which the body does not react to insulin normally, and the blood glucose levels rise.
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.
Body composition strongly associated with insulin sensitivity
The study further emphasises the importance of healthy body composition on metabolic health.
Garthwaite notes that the results showed that increased body fat percentage was a more important factor in terms of insulin sensitivity than physical activity, fitness or the amount of time spent sitting.
Standing, on the other hand, was associated with insulin sensitivity independently, irrespective of body composition.
“Regular exercise is well known to be beneficial for health. It seems that physical activity, fitness and sedentary behaviour are also connected to insulin metabolism, but indirectly, through their effect on body composition,” Garthwaite explains.
Causal effects cannot yet be predicted based on this study, but according to Garthwaite, the results suggest that increasing daily standing time may help in the prevention of lifestyle diseases if physical activity recommendations are not met.
Garthwaite added that the researchers aim to investigate how changes in daily activity and sedentariness impact cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk factors and metabolism by comparing two groups in an intervention study of a longer duration.
“Our aim is to study if reducing daily sitting time by an hour has an impact on energy metabolism and fat accumulation in the liver and the whole body, for example, in addition to insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation,” says Garthwaite.
Watch a five-minute move routine to try at work: