Getting up from your desk, or wherever you've been sitting, and walking for two minutes every hour can help reduce the negative health effects from prolonged sitting, says a new study from the University of Utah School Of Medicine, USA.
Most people spend their day sitting, working at a computer or watching television. Earlier studies have shown that sitting for extended periods of time is associated with higher risk of heart diseases, diabetes and premature death and other chronic health problems, regardless of regular exercise. Standing for some hours can be an obvious remedy to the diseases caused by sitting. But, standing for longer periods of time or standing at your work place may not be healthy or practical.
AdvertisementResults from a new study show that taking a break for just two minutes and doing some light-intensity exercise such as walking and gardening results in a 33% lower risk of the premature death.
Study lead author Dr. Srinivasan Beddhu, a professor of medicine at the university, said that the study results are significant as current exercise recommendations also advice people to get at-least 2.5 hour of moderate exercise each week.
"Moderate exercise strengthens the heart, muscles and bones, and confers health. Based on these results, we would recommend adding two minutes of walking each hour in combination with their normal activities, which should include 2.5 hours of moderate exercise each week," said Dr. Beddhu.
Tom Greene, study author and the director of the Study Design and Biostatistics Center at the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at the university, said that moderate physical activities could be life-saving.
"Exercise is great but the reality is that the practical amount of vigorous exercise that can be achieved is limited. Our study suggests that even small changes can have a big impact," he said
The study collected data of the people (around 3,200) who participated in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The study volunteers wore accelerometer to assess the intensity of their activities. The scientists compared the health benefits of longer bouts of low-intensity activities, such as standing and walking. The participants were closely followed for three years and 137 people died during this time.
While suggesting two minutes walk per hour for a healthy life and long life, the study found no benefit from two-minute standing per hour to offset the negative health effects of sitting for long periods. However, scientists said that only a larger interventional study could prove if replacing some sitting time with light activity such as standing can provide people with better health.
The study was published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
What is Moderate Exercise?Experts say that moderate walk should translate to about 100 steps per minute.
To calculate how many steps per minute are required to attain moderate exercise, researchers monitored oxygen uptake in 58 women and 39 men while they finished four different 6-minute treadmill sessions. The participants worked out on the treadmill at speeds ranging from 2.4 to 4.1 miles per hour. All of them wore pedometers, a device that calculates the intensity of exercise by detecting the motion of the person's hips, during the exercise sessions.
"Our study suggests that walking at more than 100 steps per minute would be necessary to the intensity level of moderate exercise. As health benefits can be achieved with even with 10-minute exercise, a useful starting point is to attain 1,000 steps in 10 minutes, before going after 3,000 steps in 30 minutes," researchers write in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.