Just 30 Minutes Less Sitting Time Per Day Cuts Seniors' High Blood Pressure

Just 30 Minutes Less Sitting Time Per Day Cuts Seniors' High Blood Pressure
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Key Takeaways

  • Seniors who cut their sitting time by a half hour improved their blood pressure

  • Less sitting improved blood pressure as much as regular exercise or weight loss

  • Health coaching helped the seniors get up and move more

THURSDAY, March 28, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Seniors wound up with lower blood pressure after they were coached to get up and move more often, a new study says.

Health coaching successfully reduced sitting time for a group of older adults by just over 30 minutes a day, according to a report published March 27 in the journal JAMA Network Open.

Sitting less led to a reduction of nearly 3.5 points in the seniors’ average blood pressure, researchers said.

By comparison, increased physical activity typically leads to an average 4-point reduction in blood pressure and weight loss an average 3-point reduction, they noted.

"Our findings are really promising because sitting less is a change that may be easier for people than increasing physical activity, especially for older adults who are more likely to be living with restrictions like chronic pain or reduced physical function," said lead researcher Dori Rosenberg, a senior scientific investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle.

Older adults typically sit between 65% and 80% of their waking hours, researchers said in background notes. Such sedentary behavior can lead to heart disease and diabetes.

The new study involved 283 seniors ages 60 to 89 covered by Kaiser Permanente’s health system in Washington state.

The seniors all received a tabletop standing desk, an activity tracker and 10 health coaching sessions during a six-month period. In these sessions, participants set goals for reducing their time spent sitting.

A control group also received health coaching, but focused on areas of health not related to standing or increasing activity.

The pandemic required most of the health coaching sessions to be delivered remotely.

Nevertheless, the seniors were able to improve their sitting patterns, and more time on their feet led to better blood pressure.

More information

The National Institutes of Health have more on the health risks of an inactive lifestyle.

SOURCE: Kaiser Permanente, news release, March 27, 2024

What This Means For You

Seniors, get up and move: New research shows that reducing the amount of time spent sitting can help improve blood pressure.

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