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Sitting down all day? Take a break

What are sitting breaks? Prolonged sitting is common practice in most jobs but can be detrimental to the human body.

Some studies suggest that increasing sitting time is associated with increased cardiovascular risk, chronic diseases, musculoskeletal pain, muscular tension and increased risk of mortality, even while combining with leisure time physical activity.

The limited studies examining the beneficial effects of breaking sitting time concluded that low-intensity and moderate-intensity activity reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and reduced the rise in post-meal glucose and insulin spikes.

Another study demonstrated that breaking sitting time protects the endothelial function (the inner lining of the arteries) by improving the blood flow to result in greater oxygen supply to the outer tissue, therefore reducing cardiovascular risk.

The controversy is how unhealthy it is to sit for a prolonged amount of time knowing it make us more vulnerable to chronic pain.

It is probably safe to suggest that regularly interrupting our comfortable sitting time is worthwhile to keep as active as possible.

There is not enough scientific basis to suggest how much stimulation we should have and how often, but based on years of experimenting the health benefits of physical activity the general rule of thumb is that for every thirty minutes of sitting, you should have at least one minute of stimulation: The 30:1 rule.

Mini exercise breaks during working hours is one way of incorporating exercise into sedentary lives.

To optimise exercise for cardiovascular health you need to raise your heart and breathing rate while still being able to hold a conversation with someone.

So what exactly can we do in one minute to achieve moderate intensity activity?

Physiotherapist, and colleague, Sophie Tyrrell kindly advises when incorporating mini exercise breaks the exercise often needs to be performed in small spaces and with little to no equipment, especially in a home-office environment.

Dr. Rosa Lavarello. MB BS MRCGP, Queens Rd Medical practise

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