Good News: Extra Steps Can Offset Sitting

Extra steps can offset walking

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!

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54 CommentsLeave a comment

    • Hi Estee. Depending on the tracker you have, it could be a text, call, or calendar notification. However, if you have a Flex, sometimes, certain movement could trigger manual sleep mode on your tracker. To exit manual sleep mode, rapidly tap Flex. It will vibrate, flash all five lights three times, and then display a spinning light pattern. Let us know if you have any other questions!

    • I would love to walk10,000 steps a day.
      I am a teacher of 3 to 6 year old children.
      I am also 70 years old.
      Imposible for me to Walk the 10,000steps a day
      Inthe afternoon I CAN hardly move.

      • I’m a teacher of children aged 4 and 5 and actually find I do way more steps on my teaching days. This is in England though where we have a big emphasis on outdoor learning so I am often outside which really helps.

      • Susana, I’m younger than you and cannot do 10,000 steps either…. yet. Like you, there comes a time during the day that I am done in. So, I started with an attainable goal (1,000 steps for me) and found that it was easier to reach by doing some steps every hour. My goal increases a little at a time as I achieve the previous goal. I may never get near 10,000 steps in a day but I will work up to my own maximum if I give it time. Best of luck reaching your maximum, too. I’m rooting for you!

  • I’m a seventy four year old grandmother who purchased a Fitbit Blaze in June. Is it realistic for me to reach 10,000 steps? I can make over 2,000 steps, but there is no way my body could possibly go much higher because of back and knee issues. TY.

    • Hey Gloria! Congrats on your purchase! We definitely recommend speaking with your doctor before setting 10,000 as your goal. Each person has individual fitness needs, and yours may be less than 10,000. Hope this helps!

    • I am 65 years old and bought a Fitbit to increase my activity. It has really worked. I have a really sedentary occupation and try and move more at work. Perhaps you can gradually build up to 10000 steps. All movement is better than none at all. Good luck

    • Yes. It is. I’m 76 and do it regularly!!

      Don’t try to go straight to 10,000. Start with what you can do easily and add 100 steps a day. You’ll get there! Once you get fitter you can add more than 100. But don’t set yourself a goal that you can’t meet. Remember rest days. To start with may be exercise every other day. And then go to 4 days a week and then 5.

    • Hi! I have three artificial joints, RA, widespread osteonecrosis, a serious lung disease, and type 2 diabetes. Thanks to Fitbit, I am regularly hitting 11,000 steps a day, and oh yes! I am 70 years old and haven’t felt this good in years!! You can do it. Little steps at a time, but but increase them hem little by little every day. Good luck to you!! We older kder people rock!!

    • I will be 76 next month. I can hit 10,000/day on the days I go out with my hiking group (3-4 days/week). It’s fun and we meet for breakfast first. On non-hiking days I can hit ca. 7,500 steps by going to the gym.

    • I am a retired 69 year old. I thought 10,000 steps unattainable but I started to do the prompt 250 steps per hour (not every time) but I try plus steps in between adverts on tv. I walk/jog up and down the hall and lounge. It has worked for me to get to 10,000 odd steps and hope suggestion works for you.

  • Hi Kimberly. I’m 63 years of age and regularly average 20,000 steps a day each week. I’m disappointed if I don’t reach that goal. Am I over doing it? Cheers Laurie

    • I am 57 and would love to do 20,000 steps a day, every day. I can only manage it when I don’t have to go to my office job. I say, you go, girl!

  • Does anyone know how to accurately log an activity thats not listed on activity log when searching for activities or if theres a full list somewhere so you can pick the most appropriate e.g a pump class (weights) isnt listed so i input weights?

  • I am a 46 year old male that gained a lot of weight when I quit smoking about 8 months ago. I bought a treadmill as a Christmas present to myself on Black Friday, I also purchased the Fitbit charge 2, I am walking 5 miles a day and am slowly losing weight. Best thing I’ve ever done for myself!

  • Got a Fitbit for Christmas and have started to use most trackers already. Meeting my 10000 steps goal daily; using my fluid tracker and have just started using the food intake tracker to help me lose three stone by end June. Will keep you posted but so far very pleased with my Fitbit.

  • And I would just like too say guys I’ve gone back too high paced hospitality work recently always wondered how many steps we do each day I’m clocking 19000-20000 per day and I’ve dropped 8 kg in four months without changing my diet

    • What do you do exactly to clock in 20k steps a day? I have an Eliptical and when I use it one hour a day I can clock in only 6k steps. Hitting 10K steps really requires lots of concentrated effort on my part.

  • I bought a fit bit charge 2 just after Christmas and it’s the best thing I own. It helps me find time to reach my goal everyday unlike before where I would use any excuse under the sun.

  • My son gave my husband and I got bits for Christmas and I love it.I have just challenged my husband to see who can walk more in a week.

  • I too got a Fitbit for Christmas. Started to go to the gym using the treadmill but that doesn’t get me 10,000 steps so at lunch I am going for walk no matter if it’s snowing, raining etc. And I have even asked my husband to drop me off on the way home just to get the 10,000. I have lost 9 pounds since the beginning of January.

    • I wil be 80 ( eighty) on August 23. Fitbit recently awarded me the Monarch Butterfly award for walking 2500 miles since I got my Fitbit watch as a Christmas gift from my daughter. My best day was 18 miles. I owe it all to Fitbit. I love those folk.❤️❤️❤️

  • I love my Fitbit I started a low carb diet on 3/11/16 and lost over 30 pounds but was at a lull and losing nothing for a while. Started using my Fitbit on 1/1/17 and doing at least 10k steps a day and the weight loss is picking up again. I lost 36 pounds so far and feel and look great. Thank you for the motivation Fitbit!!!!!!

  • I got a fit bit flex for my burtday two years ago and gradually got up to 10,000 steps a day. I am closing in on 76 yrs old and now most days do a minimum of 10,000 and usually 11,000 and more. Have lost over 40 lbs and in the best shape of my life!

  • My Fitbit charge 2 suppose to start to zero at 12 midnight. When I wake and check after 12 I noticed without getting up Fitbit already has steps that I have not made. How can that be resolved.

  • I purchased a Fitbit flex the first week in October 2016 by the second week in Dec I had lost 17 lbs. I spend half of my day sitting so the Fitbit made me get up to move and take the stairs so I can get my 10,000 steps a day. I also track my food and water intake. In Dec I bought the Fitbit Alta because I wanted to be able to see my steps on the tracker as of last Monday I am down 19 more lbs. I have made life changes with clean eating along with moving around and taking the stairs I also get on the elliptical for 30 mins every night. The tracker has helped me to stay on track.

  • I am 69 years new and had spinal surgery to L4/5 Lumbar Fusion single level 15 days ago. I have been using my surge to monitor my daily progress. Acheived 8765 steps today and have target of 10,000 within 20 days. The monitor has been an immense help

  • I am just getting started and I have Abad back bad knee over weight and can’t do some of the exercises. What do you suggest?

    • First, check with your doctor! If s/he agrees, maybe start with walking and stretching. You will find that this will help weight loss and flexibility as well as with fitness. Start with what you can do comfortably and then add 100 steps every day or two. A good stretching programme will help your back and knees. Why not go to your local gym to get you started. You don’t have to do weights until you are fitter. But stretching is as important as walking.

  • My co-worker and I have both started adding a 7 minute walk to every hour at work. This little walk gets us up and active and makes the other 53 minutes an hour more productive. It amazing how easily we reach out 10,000 steps doing this. We are lucky we have a positions in our company that allow is to do it.

  • I never exercised below I brought my Fitbit. I begin by sitting a goal of 5000 steps. Back in April I decided I wanted to get to 10,000. I began to increase my steps by getting up during commercials and walking around the house. Before I knew it I was reaching my goal of 10,000.

    Since April I am reaching at least 10,000 steps everyday.

    For the last two weeks I have walked 15,000 steps per day.

  • Later in the day at work the cafeteria is usually empty. Silly as it sounds but desperate to move inside also since it was frigid outside, I ran up & down the cafeteria a few times. One day I just did jumping jacks!

  • I have had a Fitbit for 5 weeks now I started with the 250 steps per hour but now do a 1,000 steps or more per hour and am enjoying the walking

  • I am a 63 year old grandma of 8 and my kids bought me a Fitbit to give me incentive to walk. I started with a goal of 10,000 steps but now start the week with 12,000. Each day I try to make it with more steps than the day before. I am now ending each week with at least 18,000 and have even hit 20,000 twice. I love watching my results. I have type 2 diabetes and my A1C has dropped to 5.6.

  • I’m a teacher in the US and I stand, but didn’t walk around enough. Since I purchased my Fitbit I have rearranged my classroom desks so I can easily zig zag through them during my day. This has really helped me to boost my steps!

  • I love my Fitbit!! 72 yrs and getting 10,000-22,000/day. It is like a game with myself. Doing more each week. I go to work an hour early and use the track at the park. If I have to, I walk in the back yard or even in the house. Now when the bib goes off for every hour, I get up and move. Running in place etc. Since Dec 28. 20 lbs gone. Now I am finding excuses to walk!!! So I can watch the steps add up!!!

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