31 August 2020

In Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise Yvonne Hartman described a 16-weeks reduced sitting intervention in participants with an increased cardiovascular risk. This intervention reduced sedentary behaviour by 1 hour per day and improved peripheral vascular function and cerebral blood flow. Therefore, reducing sedentary behaviour is a promising target to prevent future cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease.
During the past decade, sedentary behaviour (i.e. too much sitting) is identified as a strong, independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. High levels of sedentary time increase the risk for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disorders. Studies examined whether changing sedentary behaviour improved risk. However, these studies failed to significantly reduce sedentary behaviour, especially on a longer term and in daily life conditions. Therefore, we co-developed a pocket-based activity monitor to objectively monitor sedentary behaviour and provide real-time feedback to participants (Activ8sit, 2 M Engineering, Valkenswaard, the Netherlands). Furthermore, participants were coached and supported to further decrease their sedentary time. Based on feedback of participants, the intervention was  optimized, eventually resulting in the substantial decrease of 1 hour per day. Importantly, this decreased sedentary time was present after 16 weeks of intervention, thereby stressing the sustainable, long-term feasibility of our intervention.
The 1 h/day reduction in sedentary behaviour resulted in a significant improvement in peripheral artery vascular structure and function, as measured by superficial femoral artery diameter and flow-mediated dilation. Furthermore, we observed an increase in cerebral blood flow, without changes in cerebral autoregulation or reactivity.
Given the role of vascular function and cerebral blood flow in the development of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, these observations may have important clinical implications. Reducing sedentary behaviour is an accessible intervention and therefore might be easier applicable, compared with exercise training, in clinical groups. Reducing sedentary behaviour is a promising target to prevent future cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease and should be further investigated to reveal its clinical effect.

Long-Term and Acute Benefits of Reduced Sitting on Vascular Flow and Function.
Hartman YAW, Tillmans LCM, Benschop DL, Hermans ANL, Nijssen KMR, Eijsvogels TMH, Willems PHGM, Tack CJ, Hopman MTE, Claassen JAHR, Thijssen DHJ.
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