(HealthDay News) — Getting up and walking for two minutes every hour could help reverse the negative health effects from prolonged sitting, new research suggests. The findings were published online April 30 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Tom Greene, PhD, director of the Study Design and Biostatistics Center at the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, and colleagues analyzed data from 3,243 people who participated in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The study volunteers wore devices to measure the intensity of their activities. The researchers compared the health benefits of longer bouts of low-intensity activities, such as standing, with light-intensity activities, such as walking. The study participants were followed for three years. During that time, 137 of the people died.
The researchers found that standing more may not be enough to offset the dangers of sitting for too long, but short bursts of light activities, such as walking, cleaning, and gardening, can boost the longevity of people who are sedentary for more than half of their day. Trading two minutes of sitting for two minutes of light-intensity activity each hour lowered the risk of premature death by 33%.
“It was fascinating to see the results because the current national focus is on moderate or vigorous activity. To see that light activity had an association with lower mortality is intriguing,” lead author Srinivasan Beddhu, MD, a professor of medicine at the university, said in a university news release. “Based on these results, we would recommend adding two minutes of walking each hour in combination with their normal activities, which should include 2.5 hours of moderate exercise each week.”