Walking an extra two minutes each hour may offset hazards of sitting too long, reveals a new study.
The University Of Utah Health Sciences study suggests that engaging in low intensity activities such as standing may not be enough to offset the health hazards of sitting for long periods of time. On the bright side, adding two minutes of walking each hour to your routine just might do the trick.
Numerous studies have shown that sitting for extended periods of time each day leads to increased risk for early death, as well as heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions. Considering that 80% of Americans fall short of completing the recommended amount of exercise, 2.5 hours of moderate activity each week, it seems unrealistic to expect that people will replace sitting with even more exercise.
They found that there is no benefit to decreasing sitting by two minutes each hour, and adding a corresponding two minutes more of low intensity activities. However, a "trade-off" of sitting for light intensity activities for two minutes each hour was associated with a 33% lower risk of dying.
Lead author Srinivasan Beddhu said that 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 explained that while it's obvious that it takes energy to exercise, strolling and other light activities use energy, too. Even short walks add up to a lot when repeated many times over the course of a week. Assuming 16 awake hours each day, two minutes of strolling each hour expends 400 kcal each week. That number approaches the 600 kcal it takes to accomplish the recommended weekly goal of moderate exercise.
He concluded that based on these results they would recommend adding two minutes of walking each hour in combination with normal activities, which should include 2.5 hours of moderate exercise each week. Moderate exercise strengthens the heart, muscles and bones and confers health benefits that low and light activities can't.
The study is published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology