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Replacing Sedentary Time With Sleep or Light Physical Activity Found to Have Positive Health Benefits

A sedentary lifestyle can have negative health effects such as weight gain, loss of muscle strength, poorer blood circulation, and weakened bones. According to a new study, substituting prolonged sedentary time with sleep or light physical activity may help improve mood, lower stress, and lower BMI.

Four hundred twenty-three healthy young adults with an average age of 27.5 participated in the study. They wore a SenseWear armband 24 hours per day for 10 days to assess time spent sedentary, in light physical activity, in moderate to vigorous physical activity, and asleep. BMI and body fat percentage were measured at baseline and after 12 months. They also completed the Profile of Mood States and Perceived Stress Scale at baseline and after 12 months.

The researchers found that swapping prolonged sedentary time with sleep was associated with lower stress, better mood, and lower BMI. Replacing prolonged sedentary time with light physical activity was associated with improved mood and lower BMI. Substituting moderate to vigorous activity was associated with improved mood and lower body fat percentage.

The study was conducted by researchers from Iowa State University. It was published online ahead of print on May 14, 2020 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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