Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Get Up and Move Around, Children!

Ask any school teacher. Children have a tough time sitting still. But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe we should not be taming that impulse to wiggle and squirm and get up and move. In fact, a careful new study suggests that kids with excess weight might be healthier if they get up and move around for three minutes every half hour.

A Small and Careful Study

Miranda Broadney and colleagues collected data from 35 children with excess weight and obesity. The children were between seven and eleven years old. Researchers conducted a randomized and controlled crossover study to measure the effects of getting up and moving around a bit every half hour versus sitting still for three hours straight.

The differences were clear. When these children moved a bit every half hour, measures of their glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity were healthier. Furthermore, they didn’t compensate by eating more than the kids who were sitting still.

Adults Can Benefit, Too

A new systematic review and meta-analysis supports similar conclusions for adults. Travis Saunders and colleagues analyzed 44 studies of interrupting prolonged sitting. They found that breaking up sitting times leads to healthier glucose metabolism and better insulin sensitivity.

Orderly Classrooms Come at a Cost

Keeping people still and quiet certainly makes conducting a class or running a meeting more orderly. But are the outcomes better? Probably not for our metabolic health.

But to fully understand this, we will need further research. These studies deal with acute effects on metabolic health. Now we need solid data on longer-term outcomes.

Regardless, given what we already know, it makes sense for both children and adults to build a bit more motion into their days.

Click here for the study by Broadney et al and here for the study by Saunders. For further perspective, click here and here.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding, photograph © Kent Wang / flickr

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August 18, 2018