Modern societies spend too much time sitting. Although replacing excess sedentary time with physical activity has received increased attention in chronic disease prevention programs, questions still remain. Is it enough to replace sedentary time with light-intensity physical activity (e.g., standing up and moving around)? Is additional benefit gained through more intense activity (e.g., purposeful walking)?
Over a 12-month period, this study followed 647 adults at high risk of developing diabetes to observe how changes in physical activity are related to changes in markers of cardiovascular and metabolic health (blood pressure, fat and sugar in the blood, waist size).
Just over a third of the sample reduced their sedentary behavior by five minutes or more. While those that replaced some of their sedentary time with light-intensity physical activity improved their health, greater gains were seen when sedentary time was replaced by activity that was of at least moderate intensity. Replacing just 30 minutes of sedentary time with moderate-intensity physical activity was associated with health benefits similar to those associated with replacing 105 minutes of sedentary time with light-intensity physical activity. View the abstract