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AHAScienceJournals182 karma

Thanks for this great question! I am focusing on exactly this research question right now – how does prolonged sitting affect blood pressure and other cardiovascular health metrics. Our research shows that blood pressure increases across a day of prolonged sitting and that breaking sitting up can keep this from happening. To make it work in your life, the good news is there are different kinds of breaks that all seem to be effective. Short walk breaks (<5 minutes), intermittent standing (15-30 min each hour, say at a sit-stand desk), or even a short resistance exercise break like desk push-ups! Anything that engages your muscles and gets your circulation going seems to help. I am now studying whether these one day effects can turn into longer-term benefits on blood pressure – hopefully that research will be out in the next 2 years.

I myself try not to sit for more than an hour at once if I can help it. When working, I stand 15-30 minutes each hour and try to walk around or even do some jumping jacks once an hour during the workday. I use my Apple watch to remind me if I haven’t moved! Also, I try to break up a lot of sitting at night by doing dishes between shows or taking a walk/playing outside with my kids after dinner.


AHAScienceJournals101 karma

This is a great question! Though it’s not entirely clear, it looks like anything that can promote circulation through muscle contraction while sitting is probably better than prolonged sitting in a chair for a long time. So something like fidgeting, and under-desk cycle that you can do for a few minutes here and there, changing between different postures of sitting, or sitting on an exercise ball that makes you use your leg muscles can help. Though not a cardiovascular risk factor, we should also consider ergonomics and some things like standing all day or sitting on an exercise all day are also not recommended because they can lead to strain on your back or other spots. A great saying is, ‘the best posture is the next posture’ and this is a nice way to think about it – try to change your posture often to promote circulation and musculoskeletal health.


AHAScienceJournals78 karma

I *am* participating in this AMA from my standing desk and it makes me feel very powerful...


AHAScienceJournals46 karma

You can become immediately un-lazy with just a quick activity break. Try a few jumping jacks or some yoga poses. And rest is important too :) It’s all about moderation and balance!


AHAScienceJournals42 karma

Thanks for this great question! Any kind of aerobic activity that gets your breathing and heart rate up can help lower blood pressure – for example swimming or recumbent biking. Also, resistance exercise is another great option that also can help lower blood pressure. This can be done with inexpensive free weights or resistance exercise bands. Working with an exercise professional or health coach for your specific situation can also help – ask your doctor if you can get a referral for this kind of service. Also, check out your local community YMCA or a gym for some extra guidance and motivation!