Two Hours, Standing & Heart Health

Training, Hills (2)Standing rather than sitting for two hours a day may have a positive effect on biochemical risk markers, including fasting blood glucose and lipid profile, a cross sectional study has shown (Healy et al., 2015).

The participants were 698 Australian adults who wore activity monitors that judged posture and movement, for as long as seven days.

All participants underwent blood tests and measurement of weight, height and waist circumference, as well as answering questionnaires to assess sociodemographics, medical history and dietary habits.

On average, the participants spent 56% of their waking hours sitting, 31% standing and 13% walking of doing some other physical activity.

The researchers used isotemporal substitution analysis to calculate the effects of substituting either two hours of standing or two hours of walking for two hours of sitting each day.

They found that increased standing significantly affected fasting plasma glucose (2% reduction), high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (0.6 mmol/L reduction), total/HDL cholesterol ration (6% reduction) and triglyceride levels (11% reduction). The effect on fasting plasma glucose was of borderline significance.

Other measures (BMI, waist circumference, blood pressure, two hour plasma glucose, HbA1c and LDL cholesterol) showed no significant difference.

As might be expected, two hours spent walking rather than sitting had a greater effect. The study found an 11% reduction in BMI and a 7.5 cm smaller waist circumference, as well as improvements in lipid profile and 11% lower two hour plasma glucose.


BMJ 2015;351:h4160.

Healy, G.N., Winkler, E.A.H., Owen, N., Anuradha, S. & Dunstan, D.W. (2015)Replacing Sitting Time with Standing or Stepping: Associations with Cardio-Metabolic Risk Markers. European Heart Journal.


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