Purpose: Previous research suggests that prolonged sitting may acutely reduce cerebral blood flow velocity (CBFv). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of alternating standing and sitting vs prolonged sitting on CBFv.
Methods: This randomized crossover study enrolled working adults (N=25) with pre-to-stage 1 hypertension not using antihypertensive medications, and a body mass index from 25 to < 40 kg/m2. Subjects participated in two simulated workday conditions: 1) sitting continuously (SIT), and 2) alternating standing and sitting every 30 min (SS). Beat-to-beat systolic, mean and diastolic CBFv were recorded bilaterally for 1 min via insonation of the middle cerebral artery using transcranial Doppler ultrasonography before (morning), between (midday) and following (afternoon) two 3-hr 40 min work periods.
Results: Mean±SD age was 42±12 years, blood pressure (BP) was 132±9/83±8 mmHg, and BMI was 32±5 kg/m2. Cerebrovascular hemodynamics did not differ across condition (P>0.05). There were, however, significant nonlinear effects of time (decrease from morning to midday; increase from midday to afternoon) on systolic CBFv (P=0.014), mean CBFv (P=0.001), diastolic CBFv (P=0.002), and pulsatility index (P=0.038). When overall time effects were evaluated during each time interval, mean and diastolic CBFv significantly decreased morning to midday and all CBFv increased from midday to afternoon. When separated by condition, significant time effects were observed for all CBFv during SIT (P<0.02) but not SS (P>0.05).
Conclusions: In individuals with elevated BP and BMI, CBFv significantly decreased by midday and increased by afternoon, especially during a workday of prolonged sitting. Future studies should evaluate the combination of frequent walks and a sit-stand desk to break up prolonged sitting.
Keywords: cerebrovascular hemodynamics; sedentary behaviour; sit-stand desk; transcranial Doppler.
Conflict of interest statement
Conflict of Interest Dr. Gibbs discloses funding from Humanscale. Drs. Perdomo, Kowalsky, Balzer and Mr. Taormina disclose no conflicts of interest.
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