During a recent Finnish joint study by the Turku PET Center and the UKK Institute, researchers found that standing was associated with better insulin sensitivity. Therefore, increasing the amount of time you stand each day could help prevent chronic illness.
The results of the study were published in the “Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport”.
Insulin is a key hormone for energy metabolism and blood sugar regulation. The normal function of insulin in the body can be disturbed by obesity, for example, which leads to reduced insulin sensitivity and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
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Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common diseases of civilization worldwide and is usually preceded by impaired insulin sensitivity, i.e. insulin resistance.
This refers to a condition when the body does not respond normally to insulin and blood sugar levels rise.
Lifestyle has a strong influence on insulin resistance and the development of type 2 diabetes, and regular physical activity is known to play an important role in preventing these problems.
However, little is known about the influence of sitting, sitting and standing breaks on insulin resistance.
In a study by the Turku PET Center and the UKK Institute, researchers examined the links between insulin resistance and sedentary behavior, physical activity and fitness in inactive adults of working age with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
In the study, the researchers observed that standing is associated with better insulin sensitivity regardless of daily physical activity or sitting time, fitness level or obesity.
“This link has not been shown so far. These results further encourage replacing part of the daily sitting time with standing, especially if the physical activity recommendations are not followed,” said PhD student Taru Garthwaite of the University of Turku.
Body composition is strongly related to insulin sensitivity
The study also highlights the importance of healthy body composition for metabolic health. The results show that increased body fat percentage was a more important factor in insulin sensitivity than physical activity, fitness, or time spent sitting.
Standing, on the other hand, was associated with insulin sensitivity regardless of body composition.
“Regular exercise is known to be beneficial to health. It appears that physical activity, fitness and sedentary lifestyle are also linked to insulin metabolism, but indirectly through their effect on body composition, ”explained Taru Garthwaite.
Causal effects cannot yet be predicted based on this study, but according to Garthwaite, the results suggest that increasing the daily standing time can help prevent lifestyle diseases if the recommendations on physical activity are not followed.
Next, the researchers want to investigate how changes in daily activity and lack of exercise affect risk factors for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and metabolism by comparing two groups in a longer-term intervention study.
“Our goal is to investigate whether reducing the daily sitting time by one hour, in addition to insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation, also has an impact on energy metabolism and fat accumulation in the liver and in the whole body,” says Garthwaite.
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