Few minutes of light activity good for diabetes

Just a few minutes of light activity could benefit the health of obese people with type 2 diabetes, researchers have found.

According to the findings, going for a short stroll or doing a few squats can lower the blood pressure of obese people with type 2 diabetes who usually spend a lot of their time sitting.

Australian researchers monitored the blood pressure of 24 overweight and obese adults, all of whom had type 2 diabetes, as they sat for eight hours - a typical working day for many.

The average age of the participants was 62 and two-thirds were on blood pressure medication.

Participants either did three minutes of simple resistance exercises every 30 minutes, such as half-squats, or they walked for three minutes every 30 minutes, at an average speed of two miles per hour.

The study found that compared to uninterrupted sitting, those who walked recorded a 10-point drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading).

Those who took part in the resistance activities recorded a 12-point drop in systolic blood pressure.

"It appears you don't have to do very much. We saw some marked blood pressure reductions over trial days when people did the equivalent of walking to the water cooler or some simple body-weight movements on the spot," explained Dr Bronwyn Kingwel of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes in Melbourne.

She pointed out that having type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure significantly increases the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. Furthermore, research has shown that sitting for extended periods increases the risk of obesity, high blood pressure and other health problems, such as cardiovascular disease.

Dr Kingwell emphasised that ‘light activity breaks are not meant to replace regular, purposeful exercise'. Adults are recommended to undertake 150 minutes of moderate activity each week.

"But light activity breaks may be a practical solution to cut down on sitting time, especially if you are at your desk all day," she added.

Details of these findings were presented at the American Heart Assocation's Scientific Sessions 2015 in Florida.



[Posted: Fri 13/11/2015]

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