You’ve likely seen articles and news reports claiming, “Sitting is the New Smoking.” And while it’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, there is some truth to the shocking headlines. Cumulative sitting (we’re talking couch- and desk-surfing combined) has been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer and type 2 diabetes. So experts everywhere are recommending you get up.
Swapping TV time for gym time is easy, but unless you’re, say, Meb Keflezighi, and paid to run marathons for a living, chances are there are times when your backside has to be glued to a chair. Luckily, new research suggests you can offset some of that sitting by walking more.
Don’t Just Stand There—Move!
The new study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology suggests low intensity activities may not reverse the health hazards of sitting, but adding two minutes of walking each hour might be enough to increase your life expectancy.
Scientists at the University of Utah School of Medicine used observational data to determine whether longer durations of low intensity activities, such as standing, and light intensity activities, like walking, gardening, or vacuuming, can offset periods of sitting for those who are sedentary for more than half of their day. They found no benefit to replacing sitting with two minutes more of low intensity activities, but they did notice adding two minutes more of low intensity activities for every hour you sit during the day is associated with a 33 percent lower mortality rate.
The resulting recommendation from the study authors: Add two minutes of walking for each hour you sit, in combination with 2.5 hours of moderate exercise each week.
Fitbit Can Help
Boss won’t let you trade in your regular work station for a treadmill desk? Taking walk breaks is the next best thing. Get up every hour to walk for two minutes—and watch your step count climb! Head to the break room to refill your water bottle, see how many steps it takes to get around the building, or sneak in a set of stairs. And for quick info requests, make an effort to swing by a co-worker’s desk instead of sending an email.
How do you slip extra steps into your daily routine? Share in the comments!
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.