A group of academics from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found a method to improve sedentary children’s health without asking them to engage in demanding physical exercise.
Researchers found that even small breaks during their activities that require sitting for long times would improve their blood sugar levels. So, the finding may be useful when trying to tackle and prevent type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes emerges when your pancreas cannot regulate glucose levels in your blood flow. Diabetes patients need to take insulin injections to keep those levels down. But this battle continues throughout the entire life since there isn’t a cure for diabetes yet.
High blood sugar levels can also affect the nervous system, lead to low energy levels, and complicate heart disease.
In their study, researchers monitored more than two dozens healthy children with the average age of 9 over the course of a couple of days. Volunteers were asked to spend three hours sitting but have a three-minute break every half an hour and try and move around. Yet, the request was not compulsory for all children.
All kids’ blood sugar and insulin levels were measured before and after the trial. Scientists found that sedentary kids who took the three-minute breaks every half an hour had lower blood sugar levels than they peers who chose to sit in one place over the course of the three hours.
Dr. Jack Yanovski, lead author of the study and NIH epidemiologist, explained that the breaks improved the kids’ metabolism on the short run. He also said that past studies had shown that only 30 minutes of daily physical exercise was enough to keep kids healthy, “small behavioral changes” may also prove beneficial.
Lack of physical activity is known to cause long term damage in both kids and adults. Studies had showed that too much sitting can take its toll on brain activity and overall health. Some scientific papers even revealed that sitting for hours can lead to diabetes or may boost risk of heart disease and stroke.
Not to mention the back pain and weak bones in children. Prolonged sitting is also suspected to affect the immune system, metabolism, and lungs. Doctors explained that a bad posture may have negative outcomes on a child’s growth and development of internal organs.
In adults, bad posture can lead to back pain and put additional pressure on lungs. As a result, the body suffers from shallow breathing and has less oxygen to carry to the brain. So, because of chronic lack of oxygen, adults may experience memory and attention span issues.
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