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Running five miles in the evening but spending the day sitting is a health risk

Later sleep timing is associated with greater sedentary minutes and perceived barriers to exercise. A new study suggests that night owls are more sedentary and feel that they have a harder time maintaining an exercise schedule. Night owls may be more sedentary, less motivated to exercise, says new research, "Early To Bed, Early To Rise Makes Easier To Exercise: The Role Of Sleep Timing In Physical Activity And Sedentary Behavior." The research appears recently in an online supplement of the journal Sleep, and will be presented Wednesday, June 4, 2014 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at SLEEP 2014 | The 28th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC - Minneapolis (APSS).

Results show that later sleep times were associated with more self-reported minutes sitting, and sleep timing remained a significant predictor of sedentary minutes after controlling for age and sleep duration. However, people who characterized themselves as night owls reported more sitting time and more perceived barriers to exercise, including not having enough time for exercise and being unable to stick to an exercise schedule regardless of what time they actually went to bed or woke up.

"We found that even among healthy, active individuals, sleep timing and circadian preference are related to activity patterns and attitudes toward physical activity," said principal investigator Kelly Glazer Baron, PhD, according to the June 3, 2014 news release, "Night owls may be more sedentary, less motivated to exercise." Baron is an associate professor of neurology and director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois.

"Waking up late and being an evening person were related to more time spent sitting, particularly on weekends and with difficulty making time to exercise."

The study group comprised 123 healthy adults with a self-reported sleep duration of at least 6.5 hours. Sleep variables were measured by seven days of wrist actigraphy along with sleep diaries. Self-reported physical activity and attitudes toward exercise were evaluated by questionnaires including the International Physical Activity Questionnaire.

"This was a highly active sample averaging 83 minutes of vigorous activity per week," said Glazer Baron, according to the news release. "Even among those who were able to exercise, waking up late made it and being an evening person made it perceived as more difficult."

According to Baron, the study suggests that circadian factors should be taken into consideration as part of exercise recommendations and interventions, especially for less active adults

"Sleep timing should be taken into account when discussing exercise participation," she added, according to the news release. "We could expect that sleep timing would play even a larger role in a population that had more difficulty exercising."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get at last 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week and participate in muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week. You also may wish to check out the abstract of an older study, "Diagnostic Classification of Sleep and Arousal Disorders." Or take a look at the website of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Established in 1975, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) improves sleep health and promotes high quality patient centered care through advocacy, education, strategic research, and practice standards. With about 9,000 members, the AASM is the largest professional membership society for physicians, scientists and other health care providers dedicated to sleep medicine. For more information, you may wish to visit the AASM website.

Someone who runs five miles in the evening but spends the rest of the day sitting at a desk can be putting his or her health at risk

Miriam Hospital researchers have developed an app focused on making obese adults less sedentary. Even individuals who exercise a lot can be at risk for health problems if they also spend a lot of time in sedentary behaviors, such as sitting, the new study, "B-MOBILE - A Smartphone-Based Intervention to Reduce Sedentary Time in Overweight/Obese Individuals: A Within-Subjects Experimental Trial," reports. The research appears online June 25, 2014 in the journal Plos One, a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science. The researchers used this app to get their results from this smartphone-based intervention. Do you need a tone paired with motivational messages to get up and walk around for a few minutes? You could look into this app or create your own motivational messages with a tone on various devices with recording and playing ability to alert you to get up and move.

More sedentary time, regardless of physical activity levels, is associated with greater risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease and mortality. However, a smartphone-based intervention developed by researchers at The Miriam Hospital can produce short-term reductions in sedentary behavior that may be effective in improving health.

Dale Bond, Ph.D., and Graham Thomas, Ph.D., lead researchers and faculty in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at The Miriam Hospital's Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center, worked with their colleagues to develop a smartphone-based intervention, or smartphone app, to reduce the amount of time obese individuals sit or recline while awake. The average American adult spends upward of 60 percent of his or her awake time being sedentary, and this low-cost intervention could be made accessible to a large segment of the population using a device they already own.

"Almost everyone knows that physical activity is important," said Bond, according to the June 26, 2014 news release, Miriam Hospital researchers develop app focused on making obese adults less sedentary. "But it's not widely recognized that someone who runs five miles in the evening but spends the rest of the day sitting at a desk can be putting their health at risk. That smartphone you use so often throughout the day could now actually help to improve your health."

The smartphone app, "B-Mobile," was tested in a study of primarily middle-aged women who were obese, although the intervention can be applied to those who are not obese

The app automatically monitored the time participants spent being sedentary, and after an extended period with no activity, prompted participants via a tone paired with motivational messages to get up and walk around for a few minutes. Participants received feedback providing encouragement for taking a break and reinforcement when they achieved the walking break goal. Researchers tested three different approaches to see which was best at reducing the total amount of sedentary time. Even though all three were successful, researchers found it is better to take shorter breaks more often for better health.

Also, while previous interventions have used similar behavioral strategies such as self monitoring and feedback to reduce sedentary behavior, use of a smartphone allowed these strategies to be easily automated and implemented through the day in any environment. The app performed better than other low-intensity intervention approaches that do not involve intensive face-to-face contact and/or expensive equipment.

"Prompting frequent, short activity breaks may be the most effective way to decrease excessive sedentary time and increase physical activity in individuals who are overweight or obese," Bond concluded, according to the news release. "Further investigations should determine whether these excessive sedentary time reductions can be maintained long term and impact sedentary-related health risks."

Bond and Thomas' primary affiliation is The Miriam Hospital. In addition, they are, respectively, associate professor and assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Other researchers in the study include Jennifer Trautvetter, B.A., Tiffany Leblond, B.A., and Rena Wing, Ph.D., also of The Miriam Hospital and Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University; Hollie Raynor, associate professor of the Department of Nutrition at the University of Tennessee; and John Moon, Ph.D., and Jared Sieling, M.S., both of MEI Research Ltd.

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