The case against sitting still: activities to lower the risk of foot ulcers from diabetes 26 October 2021 For many people modern life involves an awful lot of sitting down. This isn’t ideal for many reasons, but one that people with diabetes should be aware of is how too much sitting can contribute to the development of diabetes-related peripheral neuropathy — a type of nerve damage that most commonly affects the legs and feet. A recent study published in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice has found that people with diabetes-related peripheral neuropathy who are sedentary (sitting down, not moving) at least 12 hours a day are more likely to develop a diabetes foot ulcer. The study found that lowering the amount of time a person spends sitting to nine hours a day dramatically lowers a person with diabetes’ risk of developing a foot ulcer. So then, what are some ways of reducing sedentary time? Well, the general idea is that as long as you aren’t sitting down, your body is feeling the benefits. In the workplace, this could mean using circulation-boosting furniture like standing desks or taking short breaks every hour to engage in some gentle stretching exercises that help get the blood flowing. Choosing healthy, energising options for lunch can also help you feel more in the mood to move around. Outside the workplace, it’s the same idea. Studies have shown that catching the bus rather than driving wherever possible can help. So can standing rather than sitting on public transport, or getting off a stop early and walking an extra block home. Changing sedentary behaviour isn’t about taking up intensive exercise, but more about breaking up your day with small moments of activity that help your body stretch, shake out a little, and reconnect to itself. Whether you do this by taking a walk around the block in the evening, dancing in front of the mirror, or touching your toes while you are on the phone, it is about finding something you can do regularly that makes you and your body happy. Even small changes are beneficial, both for overall health and for lowering the chance of developing a foot issue. If you have diabetes it’s important you take good care of your feet and know the early warning signs of foot problems. Foot Forward provides information and resources to help people with diabetes to take good care of their feet. So put some music on, roll your shoulders around a little, and have a think about what kind of movement makes you feel good, and how you might make space for it in your day. You can read more on the study here Key points People with diabetes-related peripheral neuropathy (DPN) who spend at least half their day sedentary (sitting down) are more likely to develop a diabetes-related foot ulcerReducing sedentary time to a maximum of nine hours a day will help lower a person’s risk of foot complications like ulcersFind activities that you like to do, or lifestyle changes you might enjoy: stretching, walking, dancing, catching public transport, maybe even a standing desk.