ACTIVE AGEING: Spending less time sitting is good for your body and for your mind.
ACTIVE AGEING: Spending less time sitting is good for your body and for your mind.

Try standing up for your brain health

HOW do you spend your waking hours? Are you aware of how much time you spend sitting each day and how it affects your health?

Let's look at our day.

We get up in the morning, get dressed and sit down for breakfast.

For some its then time to jump in the car or on a bus or train and sit down for the trip to work. For others, it could be time to find a warm spot and sit down with the paper or ipad to check out the daily news.

By lunchtime, how many hours have we spent sitting? Then think about how much time we spend sitting during the afternoon.

By dinner time we are back sitting for our meal before heading to the couch to sit and watch the news and our nightly favourite television programs.

Researchers from The University of Western Australia and the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute are examining further the negative impact that sitting might have on our brains.

UWA PhD student Michael Wheeler said, "Sitting for long periods throughout the day alters our blood glucose levels, which in turn may affect the brain".

Mr Wheeler said multiple studies had demonstrated that reducing and replacing sitting with light intensity walking helps keep glucose levels in the optimal range, particularly after food consumption. What this means is glucose levels then don't spike too high, or dip too low.

"Studies investigating the effects of excessive sitting on brain function have had mixed results so far," Mr Wheeler said.

"But what the studies do agree on is that interrupting sitting with regular activity breaks is positive for many aspects health."

To improve the health of our brains, the Mr Wheeler recommends -

  • Reduce the amount of time you sit during the day.
  • Be moderately or vigorously active throughout the day for at least 60 to 75 minutes.
  • Take a walk after eating lunch.
  • Wash the dishes by hand after eating dinner.
  • Take an active commute to and from work if possible.

"There is much opportunity to reduce sitting time throughout the day, and therefore much potential to have a positive impact on our health," Mr Wheeler said. 

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