Studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time—aka, what most of us do for at least eight hours every day—can lead to an earlier death, because of how it increases our risk for both cardiovascular and metabolic disease.But new research from Indiana University gives us hope:Taking just three leisurely five-minute walks daily can help reverse the harm we’re doing.In a September 2014 study to be published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers studied 11 non-obese, healthy men between 20-35 years old. With a blood pressure cuff and ultrasound technology, they measured artery function when the men sat for three hours without moving their legs, and in another trial where they sat for three hours but also walked on a treadmill three different times, at 2 mph for five minutes each time.One of the main problems with sitting is how it inhibits blood vessels’ ability to expand from increased blood flow, called endothelial function.Slack, disengaged muscles are unable to contract and pump blood as effectively, causing blood to pool in the legs, throwing off this endothelial function as much as 50 percent after just one hour of sitting.In this study, participants who took that five-minute walk break each hour saw zero change in arterial function throughout the three-hour period.Study lead Saurabh Thosar, a postdoctoral researcher at Oregon Health & Science University and doctoral candidate at IU’s School of Public Health-Bloomington, says it’s likely that this is thanks to the increase in muscle activity and blood flow.”There is plenty of epidemiological evidence linking sitting time to various chronic diseases and linking breaking sitting time to beneficial cardiovascular effects,” Thosar said, “but there is very little experimental evidence.”This study now gives us actionable steps to try for ourselves that have been proven to help.Along with getting up for your five-minute stroll every hour, try this easy chair workout to get your heart rate pumping instead of wasting away in your desk chair.