Short Breaks, Glucose, Insulin, and Heart Disease

«« Research
Research Content: 

Dunstan, D.W., Kingwell, B.A., Larsen, R., Healy, G.N., Cerin, E., Hamilton, M.T.,… Owen, N. (2012). Breaking up prolonged sitting reduces postprandial glucose and insulin responses. Diabetes Care, 35, 976-983.

Aim. Dunstan and colleagues (2012) aimed to explain why taking short breaks from sitting is beneficial to glucose and insulin processing.

Method. Nineteen adults ages 45-65 completed three five-hour study sessions where they were asked to either a) sit uninterrupted, b) sit with hourly 2-minute light walking breaks, or c) sit with hourly 2-minute moderate intensity walking breaks. They were given a test drink with controlled glucose and fat levels. Glucose and insulin responses were measured hourly in response to the drink.

Results. Beyond effects of age, sex, and weight, participants had lower glucose and insulin levels if they took activity breaks versus no breaks. 

Conclusion. Consistent with hypotheses, this study suggests that taking regular short breaks from sitting throughout the day reduces spikes in glucose and insulin after meals. Long-term, breaks may lower risk for atherosclerosis and heart disease.