Exercise: Don’t Just Sit There – Do Something!

| April 10, 2017

The many and varied benefits of exercise are well known – but many of us still find it difficult to incorporate regular exercise into our routines. However, you may not have to pound the pavement before breakfast or sweat it out in the gym to enjoy better metabolic health. Something as simple as getting up from your chair every half an hour could lead to healthy changes in your blood fat levels.

That is the conclusion from a recent study in Australia involving overweight or obese adults with type 2 diabetes.1 The participants carried out three different scenarios, for a seven-hour stretch each time:

  • Sitting continuously and only getting up to use the toilet
  • Getting up every 30 minutes and walking for three minutes
  • Getting up every 30 minutes and doing light exercises (such as knee raises and squats) for three minutes

The participants all ate the same breakfast and lunch, at the same time and while still seated. The researchers took blood samples from them before breakfast and at the end of the seven-hour period. They then analysed these for 338 different kinds of fats.

The results showed that taking a break from sitting every half an hour, whether for walking or light exercise, caused beneficial changes in blood fat levels, particularly following meals. Avoiding prolonged sitting increased levels of good, antioxidant fats, while reducing levels of those that stimulate inflammation and trigger thrombosis.

Previous studies have shown that the blood fat profile of people with type 2 diabetes is a factor in both chronic inflammation and insulin resistance. And earlier research by the same Aussie team found that interrupting sitting with light intensity activity after meals also reduces blood sugar levels and lowers high blood pressure.

The message is clear – don’t just sit there; it really pays to get up and move your body every half an hour, particularly after meals, and even more so if you are overweight or obese and have type 2 diabetes.

Some people, of course, take physical activity to an extreme level. Take Roddy Riddle, for instance, who has type 1 diabetes and recently completed a gruelling 350-mile ultra-marathon in the Arctic. I’ll tell you what kept him going in my next blog post.

Wishing you the best of health,

Martin Hum
PhD DHD Nutritionist
for Real Diabetes Truth

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Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone’s personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.


1. Grace MS, Dempsey PC, Sethi P et al. Breaking up prolonged sitting alters the postprandial plasma lipidomic profile of adults with Type 2 Diabetes. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Mar 13 (Online ahead of print).

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Category: Diet and Exercise

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