Bill DiodatoAmanda MacMillan
Quick quiz: What's one of the most effective ways to ward off chronic illnesses like Type 2 Diabetes? If you said daily exercise, you're right ... kinda. It turns out, according to a just-published study, that merely moving around more throughout the day -- as opposed to sitting at a desk or lying on the couch -- could be more important than whether or not you actually "work out" (like hitting the gym or going for a run) regularly. Yes, it's yet another reason to stand up (literally) for your health.
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This new research, online today in the British journal Diabetologia, focused on adults of all ages who were at high risk of developing diabetes. University of Leicester researchers found that the more time study participants spent being sedentary, the worse they scored on glucose and cholesterol tests -- regardless of whether they got their recommended 30 minutes of "moderate to vigorous physical activity" a day. In fact, reducing their sedentary time by 90 minutes a day was linked to significant reductions in diabetes risk.
Bottom line: Instead of focusing on that daily half-hour chunk of exercise, doctors and health officials should also encourage us to think more about our overall activity level and less about the actual intensity of a workout.
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We've talked plenty about ways to move more throughout the day, whether it's taking walking breaks, parking farther away from your destination, or standing while you work. (Don't have the room or resources to get a full-on standing work setup? Check out my new favorite office accessory, the portable Ninja Standing Desk: It hangs from a door or the top of a cubicle, and sets up in minutes!) These tricks can help you not only burn more calories and extend your life expectancy, but they'll protect you from diabetes, to boot.