New study finds standing or sleeping is better for heart health than sitting

A new study finds that even activities like standing or sleeping are better than sedentary behavior.


Replacing sitting with just a few minutes of moderate exercise each day can improve heart health, according to a new study, which finds that even light activities like standing or sleeping are better than sedentary behavior.

Published on European Heart Journala study that looked at how different types of exercise during the day affect heart health.

“More exercise is known to benefit heart health. Our study adds a unique perspective by considering the entire 24-hour day and provides new insights into the hierarchy of daily behaviors.” said lead author of the study, University College London said Dr Jo Blodgett, Research Fellow at the Institute of Physical Education at UCL. , Sports and Health, told Euronews.

“The best activity for the heart is moderate-intensity activity, followed by three common daily activities: light activity, standing and sleeping, with sedentary behavior being the most harmful,” she added.

Researchers from University College London and the University of Sydney analyzed data from six studies involving more than 15,000 participants from five countries. Participants wore a device on their thigh to measure activity throughout the day.

Research has found that moderate to vigorous activity is best for heart health, with visible results in just five minutes.

Next comes low-intensity activity, then standing and sleeping (versus sitting). However, the lower the intensity of the activity, the longer it takes to produce benefits.

For example, Blodgett says that sleeping instead of sitting has clear benefits for body mass index and waist circumference, but has negligible effects on cholesterol, triglycerides (a type of fat) or blood sugar levels.

“We believe that the heart health benefits of sleep over sitting are primarily due to other indirect factors leading to weight gain, with sitting having a negative impact on obesity. [such as] Eat snacks while watching TV,” she said.

Researchers found that overall, replacing 30 minutes of sitting, standing, sleeping, or light physical activity with moderate to vigorous physical activity reduced body mass index (BMI).

The higher the proportion of time spent sedentary, the higher the BMI.

The researchers highlighted some promising “occupation-based interventions” such as using standing desks or active commuting methods such as cycling to work.

“Our study highlights that replacing sedentary behavior with any other behavior is beneficial,” Blodgett said.

“Higher intensity activities such as running or cycling are the best options, but if this is not possible, benefits can still be gained by replacing sedentary behavior with lighter activities such as walking, moving, standing or even going to bed earlier”.

Physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease or stroke

The least active people benefit the most from changing their behavior.

“We already know that exercise has real benefits for cardiovascular health, and this encouraging research shows that small adjustments to your daily routine can reduce your chances of having a heart attack or stroke,” said James Lay, deputy medical director at the Royal Infirmary. James Leiper said. The Heart Foundation funded the research.

He added in a statement: “This study shows that replacing even a few minutes of sitting with a few minutes of moderate activity can improve your body mass index, cholesterol, waist circumference and have many more benefits for the body.”

While this study does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between activity and heart health, it adds to a growing body of research linking physical activity to improved cardiovascular health.


Another study published in July by the University of Sydney found that just 4.5 minutes of vigorous physical activity a day can help reduce the risk of certain cancers.

The World Health Organization (WHO) currently recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week.

Cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease and stroke, are currently the leading cause of death worldwide, killing an estimated 17.9 million people each year.

The World Health Organization says risk factors include unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, smoking and harmful alcohol consumption.

Researchers say the new study could help look at a range of behaviors and provide people with personalized recommendations to become more active.

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