According to a recent study conducted in Oulu, Finland, even a short reduction in daily time spent in lying or sitting could have several cardiometabolic health benefits for adults. In this study, the beneficial effects could be seen in insulin level, blood lipid and glucose, and body mass index.
During a 24-hour day, adults spend their time in sleep, sitting or lying, and physical activities. It is already well-established that the optimal amount of sleep for adults is 7-9 hours per night. Current recommendations for physical activity encourage adults to engage in at least 150 high-intensity physical activity per week such as brisk walking, a workout in gym, skiing, swimming, or running. However, adults also spend much of their time during a 24-hour cycle in sedentary activities including sitting and lying, which is recommended to be minimized for better cardiometabolic health—but how and how much?
Based on these results it is important to emphasize that even 10 minute less daily time spent in lying or sitting could be beneficial for adults’ cardiometabolic health. This could be achieved by performing more high-intensity activities, or, based on these novel findings, also with accommodating more light activities in a 24-hour day. Convenient walking, housework, shopping, cooking, easy gardening, and standing around are all examples of activities usually categorized as light intensity.
The study was part of the Northern Finland birth cohort 1966 program carried out at the University of Oulu and the Oulu Deaconess Institute Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, consisting of 3,443 participants, who underwent a clinical examination and completed an extensive health and lifestyle questionnaire at the age of 46 years. Physical activity and sedentary time were measured with an activity monitor for a period of two weeks.