How taking a break can help you fend off heart disease

When I wrote last week that I was taking a break, foremost in my mind was my birthday. I was trying to practice a little self-compassion, recognizing that posting each weekday was becoming a little more of a challenge than I can handle right now, while trying to balance other commitments to myself and others. The freshness I feel after a few days away means that I think it will be good to me to aim to blog 2-3 times a week instead. I think that helps me to strike a more workable balance.

However, there is another way in which breaks can prove very beneficial: small physical activity breaks when engaged in long spells of desk work. More specifically, light or moderate bouts of walking can help to protect you against the risk of heart disease and diabetes through inactivity. Overweight or obese people who walked for just 2 minutes after a period of uninterrupted sitting for two hours and drinking a standardized test drink lowered their post-consumptions glucose and insulin levels.

It is important to note that the participants were only studied over one day, but the potential is enormous. This really simple intervention looks like it can reduce sugar spikes and potentially add to the evidence base for a public health and clinical intervention strategy for reducing cardiovascular risk.

The really interesting finding from the study was the lack of any large difference between those who did light or more vigorous exercise. This points to the more damaging effects of sitting down all day without any kind of activity.

Just getting up and walking for 2 minutes every 20 minutes. That’s how easy it could be to ward off the damaging effects of remaining on our butts for long periods of time. That should be inspiration enough to get us all on our feet.

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