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Kaiser Permanente links less sedentary behavior to lowering blood pressure

2024.04.12 02:09:54 Suh Kyung (Chloe) Yu

[man. Photo Credit to Pixabay]

Kaiser Permanente, the American-integrated managed care consortium, discovered a simple yet effective strategy for lowering blood pressure among older adults: reducing sitting time.


The results, recently published in the prestigious journal JAMA Network Open, provide insight into the possible advantages of even small changes in daily activity levels.


In a study led by Dr. E. Rosenberg, involving 283 participants aged 60 to 89, with body mass indexes ranging from 30 to 50, implemented a customized intervention strategy.


This intervention package included an activity tracker, a tabletop standing desk, and ten health coaching sessions spread over six months.


The primary focus of these coaching sessions was to establish goals aimed at reducing sedentary behavior, with most sessions conducted remotely for convenience.


Interestingly, participants who received coaching sessions aimed at reducing sedentary behavior showed a significant decrease in the time spent sitting.


On average, individuals shortened their inactive periods by approximately 30 minutes per day.


More significantly, this change was accompanied by a substantial drop in blood pressure, with participants experiencing a decrease of nearly 3.5mmHg.


The study concluded that reducing sitting time holds promise for enhancing overall health, particularly among older adults who tend to spend a significant portion of their waking hours seated.

Officials from Kaiser Permanente underscored the role of frequent interruptions to sitting positions in improving blood flow and vascular health, thereby potentially leading to lower blood pressure.

Regular periods of standing or movement can help people break up extended periods of sitting and improve circulation throughout their body, especially in the lower extremities.


Prolonged periods of sitting can lead to decreased blood flow and increased pressure within blood vessels, particularly in the legs.


When sitting for extended periods, muscles remain inactive, resulting in reduced muscle contractions that normally help pump blood back to the heart.


This lack of movement can contribute to arterial stiffness and endothelial dysfunction, both of which are associated with elevated blood pressure.


By interrupting prolonged sitting with regular standing or movement breaks, individuals stimulate muscle contractions, enhancing blood circulation throughout the body.


Increased muscle activity promotes the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tissues, including the walls of blood vessels, while facilitating the removal of metabolic waste products.


Additionally, intermittent physical activity triggers the release of nitric oxide, a vasodilator that helps widen blood vessels, thereby reducing resistance to blood flow and consequently lowering blood pressure.


Healthcare providers may enhance blood vessel resilience to physiological stressors and promote vascular "training" by encouraging individuals to partake in short periods of standing or light exercise into their routines.


Officials also emphasized how these interventions may cause physiological changes that lead to long-term advancements in blood pressure regulation.


Through repeated exposure to intermittent movement, individuals may experience enhancements in physical conditions such as vascular endothelial function, arterial compliance, and sympathetic tone modulation, all of which play critical roles in blood pressure homeostasis.


Kaiser Permanente suggests taking regular breaks from seated positions to highlight the importance of incorporating movement into daily routines as a simple but effective strategy to strengthen cardiovascular health and well-being.


In embracing the significance of frequent interruptions to seated positions for enhancing blood flow and vascular health, Kaiser Permanente eventually advocates for simple yet lifestyle modifications to advance cardiovascular resilience and overall well-being.

Suh Kyung (Chloe) Yu / Grade 11
Chadwick International School