Does Exercise Reverse the Effects of Sitting Down Too Much?

As study after study has proved, sitting down too much is harmful to our health. But many people ask if they can reverse the ill health effects if they exercise regularly? And we’ll get to that answer in just a bit.

First study

Part of the issue of sitting too long is blood pooling in the lower extremities. One way to lessen its effects is to periodically get up and walk around. A study published by Indiana University found that men who walked on a treadmill for 5 minutes each hour did not experience near the same amount of blood pooling as those who sat during most of their workday.

Second Study

Another recent study supported the Indiana University study, but also went one step further by also studying just standing. What they found was that by just getting up and standing did not produce the improved blood flow to the extent that walking did.

Just standing up occasionally is not enough, however, it is far better than sitting all the time. If you can’t always leave your desk to stand, here are a few ways to add more standing time to your day:

1. Park at the far end of the lot and walk in the rest of the way.
2. If you take public transportation to work, stand more than you sit.
3. Get off a stop or two away from your work and walk in the rest of the way.
4. Take the stairs for a few flights instead of getting on the elevator right away.
5. Stand when talking on the phone.
6. Walk at lunch time.
7. Instead of sending an email, walk over to the person and deliver your message in person.

These are just some of the ways you can get up and move around. With a little thought, you’ll find more. Of course in an office environment, the ultimate workstation would be one with a walking treadmill or at least a standing desk. Granted, while standing does not produce as much of an effect as walking, it is far better than sitting all day.

Third Study

A third study found that sitting all through your work day and then exercising did not produce the same effect as taking walking breaks throughout your workday. So the timing of your exercise is crucial as to the effect it produces.

Taking walking breaks throughout your workday also lowers your blood sugar and blood pressure in addition to improving blood circulation and burning more calories. This in turn reduces your risk of diabetes, heart disease, strokes and obesity.

Don’t let a desk job shorten your life or cause health issues later on. Work in walking into your daily work-day routine.