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By now we all know that a sedentary lifestyle is one of the largest risk factors for a plethora of dangerous health conditions — especially diabetes.
But how can you fit enough activity into each and every day to reduce your threat? It’s not easy…
Although I head to the gym each morning to exercise before work, the largest part of my day is spent at a desk. Then I’m sitting down to do homework and eat dinner with my kids. Before I know it, it’s bedtime.
That means that I spend only a tenth of the time active each day as I do sedentary.
And, I’m not alone, right? More and more people today spend the largest part of their life sitting, whether at the office or home.
Luckily, a new study has shed light on a way to be active — even while seated — that could significantly decrease your chance of developing diabetes.
Move while you sit
The research, performed by kinesiologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, decided to take a different approach to the recommended levels of activity for maintaining good health.
Dr. Stuart Chipkin, an endocrinologist who studies the impact of physical activity and medications on insulin sensitivity and skeletal muscle metabolism at UMass Amherst’s School of Public Health and Health Sciences, said that instead of approaching the problem by trying to squeeze intermittent activity into a largely sedentary work routine, “we chose to consider integrating physical activity into the workday.”
He and colleagues felt that the alternatives now available for office workers or anyone who spends a large amount of time at a computer — such as standing desks and treadmill desks — were not feasible to use for long periods of time. So instead, they decided to test the impact of using a pedal desk on peoples’ risk of diabetes.
The researchers recruited overweight or obese full-time sedentary office workers and tested them in two conditions: the first group worked while seated for two hours at a conventional desk as normal, and the second group pedaled at a self-selected light-intensity pace for two hours while working.
The participants also provided blood samples after eating a light meal for analysis of metabolic responses of glucose, insulin, and free fatty acids, a link between obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
And, the results were impressive…
Pedal desk use required significantly less insulin to maintain glucose concentrations compared with using the standard desk. In other words, “It took much less insulin to keep their blood sugars the same. This means that the body doesn’t work so hard to maintain blood glucose and fatty acid levels with the use of the pedal desk compared to a standard desk.”
Pedal your way to better blood sugar
This means that using a simple pedal desk could be your key to preventing blood sugar problems and type 2 diabetes.
And, fortunately, there are a number of choices of desks based on your need.
If most of your time is spent at a desk, and budget isn’t a worry, you can find stationary bikes with desktops built right into them for around $300.
However, if you would prefer to be able to pedal your way to good health from anywhere, even on your couch or favorite chair, you can purchase mini pedal exercisers that can be placed in front of you wherever you sit, for as low as $30. I googled “pedal, desk” and lots of options came up.
Even if pedal machines aren’t in your future, don’t give up. My colleague, Jenny Smiechowski wrote about a hack that lowers blood sugar for hours…
If you can at least get up from a seated position every half hour, and walk briskly, run in place or do a few jumping jacks — for just two minutes — research shows these short, repeated bouts of movement can lower blood sugar for up to nine hours after you eat.
The bottom line is that you’ve got to move to decrease your risk of diabetes and the other health dangers that follow it.
Editor’s note: Are you feeling unusually tired? You may think this is normal aging, but the problem could be your master hormone. When it’s not working, your risk of age-related diseases skyrockets. To reset what many call “the trigger for all disease” and live better, longer, click here to discover The Insulin Factor: How to Repair Your Body’s Master Controller and Conquer Chronic Disease!
- Pilot study suggests pedal desks could address health risks of sedentary workplace — University of Massachusetts at Amherst