Sydney: Regular walking and running not only improve your heart but also enable you shed extra kilos around your waistline resulting in a healthy body mass index (BMI), researchers say.
"We found that time spent walking rather than sitting was significantly associated with lower levels of blood sugar and blood fats," said Dr Genevieve Healy, senior research fellow at the University of Queensland.
Replacing sitting time with stepping out was also associated with a significant reduction in waistline and BMI.
For the study, the researchers gave activity monitors to 782 men and women aged 36-80 years.
The monitors were capable of determining how long each participant spent sleeping, sitting or lying down, standing and stepping (which includes walking and running).
An extra two hours per day spent walking rather than sitting was associated with approximately 2 percent lower average fasting blood sugar levels and 11 percent lower average triglycerides (fats in the blood).
Extra standing time was also associated with higher average levels of the "good" HDL cholesterol.
Replacing two hours a day of sitting time with stepping was associated with an approximately 11 percent lower average BMI and a 7.5cm smaller average waist circumference.
"In addition, average blood sugar levels fell by approximately 11 percent and average triglycerides by 14 percent for every two hours spent walking rather than sitting," the authors noted.
"The finding provide important preliminary evidence that strategies to increase the amount of time spent standing or walking rather than sitting may benefit the heart and metabolism of many people," Dr Healy explained.
"Get up for your heart health and move for your waistline," he advised in a paper appeared in the European Heart Journal.