We know that sitting for long periods of time — say, writing and editing a blog on the Internet — can lead to potential health problems as serious as cardiovascular disease. But findings from a new study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN) suggest that we can offset the negative health impact of sitting by walking around for just two minutes each hour. Yes, we give you permission to go for a stroll to the watercooler!
Scientists at the University of Utah School of Medicine sought to find an attainable lifestyle goal for Americans who realistically, spend a majority of their day seated at work. Unfortunately, that means the goal needed to be more simple than “get more exercise”. As ScienceDaily points out, 80% of Americans don’t get the recommended 2.5 hours of moderate exercise per week; the scientists instead set out to find an achievable goal for those with sedentary lifestyles.
Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the scientists examined the possible benefits of activities of varying intensities, such as standing, walking, and cleaning. They found that there is “no benefit” to replacing two minutes of sitting each hour with a low intensity activity (i.e. standing). However, when those two minutes of sitting each hour were replaced with a light intensity activity like walking, the results showed a 33% lower risk of dying.
Lead author Srinivasan Beddhu, M.D., professor of internal medicine, commented ScienceDaily on how great it is that they’ve found this easy workaround:
“It was fascinating to see the results because the current national focus is on moderate or vigorous activity. To see that light activity had an association with lower mortality is intriguing.”
Beddhu recommends the two-minute walks in conjunction with your regular recommended 2.5 hours weekly of moderate exercise. (So, no, you’re not getting out of doing actual exercise here!)