Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Stand Up for Your Heart

More time spent standing could improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels while lowering fats in the blood.

Dr Genevieve Healy of The University of Queensland found that standing instead of sitting for an extra 2 hours per day was associated with 2% lower fasting blood sugar levels and 11% lower levels of triglycerides.

“Extra standing time was also associated with higher average levels of the good type of cholesterol known as HDL, and replacing 2 hours a day of sitting time with stepping was associated with about an 11% lower average BMI and a 7.5 cm smaller average waist circumference,” she said.

”To get our results, we gave activity monitors to more than 780 men and women aged between 36 and 80,” Healy said. ”Participants wore the monitors for 24 hours a day for 1 week, and from this data we were able to accurately determine how long each participant spent sleeping, sitting or lying down, standing and stepping, which included walking and running. We also took blood samples and measured blood pressure, height, weight and waist circumference.

The study also found that average blood sugar and triglyceride levels fell significantly for every 2 hours spent stepping rather than sitting.

“These findings provide important preliminary evidence that strategies to increase the amount of time spent standing or walking rather than sitting may benefit the heart and metabolism,” Healy said.

The research has been published in The European Heart Journal.