March 16, 2013

Good (?) News Finding #2: Slow Walks May Be Better than Intense Workouts

I wrote yesterday about a new finding that overweight people -- especially seniors --live longer. But closer examination showed that the study has some caveats.

That's also true of the seemingly good news from another recent study. It suggests you'll be happier taking long, slow walks instead of busting your buns on the treadmill. It also recommends standing -- not sitting -- whenever possible.

The obesity study involved nearly 3 million people from many countries. This new exercise study involved 18 college students at Maastricht University in Norway.

Since I'm not a fan of working up a sweat at the gym, I liked the headline. Unfortunately, the researchers focused on the importance of getting off your duff. Less sitting, more standing. I know this is an issue for me.

When volunteers spent two hours standing and four hours walking each day, they had healthier insulin levels and lower triglycerides than when they spent an hour a day at the gym cycling for all they were worth. And that was true even though the volunteers in both groups burned nearly the same amount of calories. The main difference was in the number of hours sitting. 

Triglycerides, for example, barely improved with vigorous exercise, but were 22 percent better when volunteers spent only 8 hours a day sitting. /this is just the latest in a spate of studies finding  that sitting is bad for us.

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So, based on these two studies, I am now going to stop sitting at my desk chair, stand up, and take a slow walk to the kitchen for a piece of cake.

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