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Why Sit When You Can Walk? A Compelling Way to Reduce the Hazards of Sitting

Two minutes of walking each hour can prolong your life. Studies show that long bouts of sitting can increase your risk of diabetes, obesity, kidney problems, and premature death.

So, what’s the best way to reduce the hazards of sitting? Are there reasonable ways for people to curtail sitting time and stay healthy?

Researchers wanted to find out. They looked at data compiled by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The also looked at participants who wore monitors to track their movement patterns.

Researchers grouped participants into three groups:

  • Low-intensity activity (e.g. standing)
  • Light-intensity activity (e.g. walking around a room)
  • Moderate to intense activity (e.g. jogging)

After the study, researchers checked death records of monitored participants three or four years later. They wanted to see how many participants had died since to calculate premature death risk.

Their findings were surprising:

  • Low-intensity activity did not show much, if any, decline in death risk
  • Light-intensity activity saw a “substantial benefit” in death risk (more on this later)
  • Moderate to intense activity findings showed an additional reduction in death risk

What’s even more compelling? Light-intensity activity lowered the risk of premature death by 33 percent.

There is one caveat to note. Because this study was observational, it’s not proven that walking instead of sitting reduces death risk. It only shows that the two are associated.
Either way, the benefits of walking for two minutes every hour are compelling with little downside.

And if you love to be on the walking edge of technology, check out the recently popularized treadmill desks. Although, you may have to perfect the voice dictation because typing in motion can be a little tricky.

For more information on this study, read the full article. (via New York Times).

Dr. Sonja Stilp founded RISE to help patients achieve their performance potential in fitness and life. She is a tech junky. Schedule an appointment with her to review the best treadmill for your needs.

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