A life-saving stroll

“Quit the sit,” is something of a mantra for Associate Professor David Dunstan, head of the Physical Activity Laboratory in the Division of Metabolism and Obesity at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute.

And as evidence accumulates about the dangers of sedentary behaviour – particularly prolonged sitting – Professor Dunstan and his colleagues are searching for solutions.

So far, they are having some success. A small, experimental one-day study published in Diabetes Care late last month has found that interrupting sitting-time with short, two-minute bouts of walking lowered postprandial glucose and insulin levels among the 19 participants – all of whom were overweight and between the ages of 45 and 65 years, but did not have type 2 diabetes. 

In fact, the results showed that taking two-minute breaks to get up and walk around every 20 minutes reduced postprandial glucose and insulin levels by as much as 30%.