A study into how sitting down and being inactive all day could increase the risk of heart disease in people with spinal cord injuries has been launched at the University of Bedfordshire
The new study, which has been awarded a grant worth over ￡85,000 by Heart Research UK over a 20 month period, will look at how breaking up long periods of sedentary time (sitting) with short bursts of activity may help reduce the risk of heart disease for those with spinal cord injuries.
The study’s Principal Investigator, Dr Daniel Bailey from the University’s School of Sport Science & Physical Activity, said: “Heart disease is the leading cause of death in people with spinal cord injury. This could be because this population is highly sedentary. This research will help determine if breaking up prolonged sedentary time could be effective in lowering heart disease risk in people with spinal cord injury.”
Dr Bailey and his team will compare the short-term heart disease risk marker responses, such as post-meal blood sugar, cholesterol and insulin levels, and blood pressure in volunteers who either sit and are inactive all day or break up long periods of sitting with short bursts of exercise.
The research, which is the first of its kind, could help update current physical activity and clinical care guidelines for people with spinal cord injuries that currently do not focus on reducing prolonged sedentary time.
It will also help identify prolonged sedentary time as a distinct risk factor for people with spinal cord injuries and help develop treatments that could help prevent the disease in this population.
“I am very excited about receiving this grant to provide us the opportunity to conduct the first study on the benefits of breaking up prolonged sedentary time in individuals with spinal cord injury,” said Dr Bailey.
“It is great to have co-investigators Dr Louise Croft at Bedfordshire and Prof Vicky Tolfrey at Loughborough University support me in this project with their expertise in working with this population.”
Chief Executive at Heart Research UK Barbara Harpham said: “Heart Research UK is pleased to fund this study as the results could make a huge difference to the heart health of people with a spinal cord injury.
“Being active and avoiding prolonged periods of sitting is so important for everyone. Supporting people with a spinal cord injury to break up periods of prolonged sedentary time, using activity that has been proven to be the most effective in reducing their risk of heart disease, will help more people to lead healthier, happier and longer lives.”
If you would like to know more about the project or volunteer to take part, please contact Dr Bailey at [email protected]
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