If you’ve been paying attention to health news over the past few years, then you’ve heard the alarm bells sound: Prolonged sitting is associated with higher blood pressure, triglycerides, blood sugar levels and, according to a 2015 meta-analysis, can even increase your risk of dying from heart disease. Exercise helps but may not completely negate your risk. The researchers of the latter study also found that people who met exercise guidelines—but were otherwise largely sedentary—only had a 30 percent lower risk of dying of any cause compared to those who were highly sedentary and didn’t exercise enough.
Scary stuff. Thankfully, research shows that there may be a solution: In addition to getting regular exercise, doing two minutes of a low-intensity activity, like walking, for every hour you sit may help reduce the negative effects of sitting.
How to Move More
If you own a Fitbit Flex 2, Fitbit Alta, Fitbit Alta HR, Fitbit Charge 2, or Fitbit Blaze, your tracker can make it easy to stick to that two-minutes-of-walking-an-hour schedule. You just have to opt into Reminders to Move, a feature that gives you a gentle vibrational nudge 10 minutes before the hour if you haven’t taken 250 steps. Fitbit chose to use 250 steps as a goal because that equates to a few minutes of walking.
An hourly reminder may seem over the top, but it works. Internal Fitbit research found that 60 percent of Fitbit’s least active users began moving more when they started using Reminders to Move. Sixty percent! That’s a lot of happy hearts. After two months they were logging nearly 500 additional daily steps—adding up to over 1.5 extra miles a week.
Best of all, over time, these least active users continued to achieve more of their hourly step goals while relying less on Reminders to Move.
If you’re ready to start building more movement into your day, this article will help you turn on Reminders to Move (don’t worry, you can choose which hours to use it) and track your progress. Happy stepping!
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.