Short Walk Can Restore Vascular Function After Prolonged Sitting

Small study found a short stroll restored blood flow in legs after hours of sitting in a chair

FRIDAY, Oct. 9, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Even a 10-minute walk can restore vascular function in legs affected by prolonged sitting, according to findings published recently in Experimental Physiology.

Robert Restaino, a doctoral student at the University of Missouri in Columbia, and colleagues had 11 young men engage in some "acute sitting" for six hours. The researchers measured the men's blood flow and other cardiovascular factors both before the sitting session and afterward. Once their six-hour sitting ended and blood flow and other measurements were completed, the men each took a 10-minute walk. Then, the investigators again performed all of the same measurements.

The researchers found that sitting markedly reduced resting popliteal artery mean blood flow. After the walk -- which, based on step counters, was about 1,100 steps in 10 minutes -- blood flow and other measures returned to pre-sitting levels.

Noting that this group of 11 men represented "healthy individuals," Restaino told HealthDay that in other groups of people, such as the elderly or those with previous heart problems, "I would imagine the impairments would be more exaggerated." For people who are less healthy, he added, the ability of blood flow and other measures to rebound to normal might require longer, more intense exercise. But "this is purely speculative" for now.

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