Light Walking at the Office Beneficial to Vascular Health – Study
Taking short walk breaks after a prolonged period of sitting down could be beneficial to vascular health. According to a research from the University of Missouri School of Medicine.
Jaume Padilla, PhD, vascular function can be impaired when a person sits down for six hours or more. This may include blood flow, and even the spread of nutrients all over the body.
Other harmful effects may include cardiovascular and metabolic disease, high cholesterol levels, and greater waist circumference.
Employees who are inactive during eight-hour workdays have bred an increase in sedentary work and lifestyles.
“It’s easy for all of us to devour ourselves by work and lose track of time, subjecting ourselves to long periods of inactivity,” said Padilla.
Sitting down for extended period of time could constrict blood vessels, which hampers the flow of blood to the legs.
However, not all hope is lost. “We also found that just 10 minutes of walking after sitting for an extended time reversed the detrimental consequences.”.
The study involved 11 healthy young men, whose vascular functions were compared before and after a long period of sitting. The findings show that blood flow in an artery in the lower leg greatly reduced after sedentary activity of six hours.
The next stage of the research, they asked them to take a short 10-minute walk. As a result, it touted to improve the blood flow of the participants.
“Moderate levels of shear stress are good for arterial health, whereas low levels of shear stress appear to be detrimental and reduce the ability of the artery to dilate.” said Padilla. The more arteries dilate, the healthier it is.
Since majority of offices promote or require sedentary practices, it’s important to promote an environment that would require workers to stand and walk once in a while.
“Studies have shown that sitting less can lead to better metabolic and cardiovascular health,” Padilla said.
“However, more research is needed to determine if prolonged sitting could lead to long-term vascular complications.” he continued.
Indiana University Study
A similar 2014 study by the Indiana University has found that three 5-minute walks could also reverse the harms to arteries.
Saurabh Thosar, Oregon Health and Science University says that “We have shown that prolonged sitting impairs endothelial function, which is an early marker of cardiovascular disease, and that breaking sitting time prevents the decline in that function.”
After an hour of sitting down, blood flow in the arteries dropped by 50%. However, those who take five-minute walks every hour didn’t drop their blood flow.
“American adults sit for approximately eight hours a day. The impairment in endothelial function is significant after just one hour of sitting. Light physical activity can help prevent this impairment.” he revealed.
This study likewise involved 11 men in randomized trials. They sat down for three hours straight where they measure the blood flow every hour. The second test involved light leg activity via walking on treadmills each hour.