Findings of a new study suggest that interrupting a long period of sitting by taking short walking breaks like during TV commercial breaks or between classes can help improve levels of blood sugar among children. Most of us have a sedentary lifestyle. Children to spend long hours sitting in one place whether they are studying, playing indoor games or watching the TV due to which they too are at a great risk of developing obesity and diabetes.
“Interrupting a long period of sitting with a few minutes of moderate activity can have short-term benefits on a child’s metabolism,” says senior author, Jack A. Yanovski, MD, PhD, of the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
“While we know getting 30 minutes or more of moderate intensity exercise each day improves children’s health and metabolism, small behavioral changes like taking short walking breaks can also yield some benefits,” he added.
As a part of this study, researchers randomized crossover trial examined sedentary behavior and metabolism in 28 normal-weight children aged between seven and eleven years old. On Day One, they were asked to sit for three hours at a stretch. The next day however, they were asked to take three minute breaks and made to walk the treadmill every half hour.
The blood sugar and insulin levels of these kids were found to be considerably lower on Day Two, indicating that even moderate exercise after short gaps helped the kids’ bodies maintain their blood sugar levels.
“Sustained sedentary behavior after a meal diminishes the muscles’ ability to help clear sugar from the bloodstream,” first author Britni Belcher from US National Cancer Institute explained.
According to him, prolonged sitting provokes the production of insulin, which creates potential for cell dysfunction that promotes the onset of type 2 diabetes. He therefore is now convinced that even short activity breaks can help overcome the harmful effects of sitting continuously, at least in the short term.
Since the kids selected similar portions and types of foods on both days after testing for blood sugar at a buffer meal, researchers believe these walking breaks did not affect their appetite.