There is an ever-growing amount of research showing that prolonged sitting is bad for your health.
Extended sitting has become a staple of modern-day life. It’s an essential job requirement for many, while it’s also paramount to travel time, leisure time, and even socializing. What’s even scarier is that its hazardous effects even impact people who exercise regularly.
Clearly, everybody should sit less and move more. But how often should you get up from your chair, and for how long? Basically, what is the least amount of activity needed to counteract the impact of a day filled with sitting?
A study from Columbia University may have come up with the answer: just five minutes of walking every half hour during prolonged sitting can offset some of its most harmful effects.
Researchers looked at a variety of different intervals to decide which was best. All of the study participants sat in an ergonomic chair for 8 hours and had their activity and movement strictly monitored.
Walking for five minutes every 30 minutes was the only exercise interval that showed significant improvements in blood sugar and blood pressure. It also had a sizeable impact on how participants responded to meals and overall energy and mood.
All amounts of walking were found to drop blood pressure by 4 or 5 mmHg compared to sitting all day, while all the intervals – except for walking for one minute every hour – led to improved energy levels and mood.
The big difference came in blood sugar levels. People who walked for five minutes every half hour saw a 58% reduction in blood sugar levels compared to those who sat all day.
Moving for just five minutes every half hour may play a role in keeping blood sugar levels in check and helping to prevent type-2 diabetes.
If you do a lot of sitting, budget five minutes out of every 30 for a little movement. It could go a long way in protecting your health.