Time spent on the feet helps prevent chronic diseases

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Insulin is a key hormone in energy metabolism and in the regulation of blood sugar, but its normal function in the body can be disrupted, for example in the case of overweight. This leads to decreased insulin sensitivity and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Recently, a Finnish study, conducted by the Turku PET Center and the UKK Institute in Tampere, found that standing is associated with better insulin sensitivity. Therefore, increasing the time spent standing daily can help prevent chronic diseases.

Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common lifestyle diseases in the world and its onset is usually preceded by an impaired sensitivity to insulin, ie a resistance to it, a sensitivity that the body no longer reacts to insulin in -an optimal way, and thus the blood sugar level increases.

Lifestyle has a strong impact on insulin resistance and the development of type 2 diabetes, and regular physical activity plays an important role in preventing these problems. However, to date, little is known about the impact of sedentary behavior, breaks and standing on insulin resistance.

The researchers investigated in the study the associations between insulin resistance, consequently the risks of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and sedentary behavior, physical activity and physical condition in inactive adults, aged until retirement. In the study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport , the researchers found that standing is associated with better insulin sensitivity, regardless of the amount of daily physical activity or length of stay, fitness level or overweight.

“This association has not been presented so far, and these findings encourage the replacement of part of the daily stay with the standing state, especially if the physical activity recommendations are not met,” says Taru Garthwaite of the University of Turku.

Body composition, strongly associated with insulin sensitivity

The study also highlights the importance of a healthy body composition on metabolic health. The results show that the increased percentage of body fat was a more important factor in terms of insulin sensitivity than physical activity, physical condition or the amount of time spent sitting. Standing, on the other hand, has been independently associated with insulin sensitivity, regardless of body composition.

“Regular exercise is well known to be good for your health. It seems that physical activity, fitness and sedentary behavior are also related to insulin metabolism, but indirectly, through their effect on body composition, “explains Garthwaite. The causal effects cannot yet be predicted based on this study, but the results suggest that increasing the time spent standing daily can help prevent lifestyle diseases if physical activity recommendations are not met.

Next, the researchers aim to investigate how changes in daily activity and sedentary lifestyle influence risk factors for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and metabolism by comparing two groups in a longer-term intervention study.

“Our goal is to study whether reducing the daily residence time by one hour has an impact on energy metabolism and the accumulation of fat in the liver and throughout the body, for example, in addition to insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation,” he says. Garthwaite.

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