Walk Just Two Minutes Each Hour to Offset Sitting Danger
By now, we all know that sitting is the new smoking. It’s a modifiable risk factor for a slew of diseases, including heart disease, which kills. That’s the bad news. But here’s the good news: “Modifiable” means most of us have control over this particular risk factor.
What’s the opposite of sitting? Standing, of course. But standing occasionally may not be sufficient to counteract the ill effects of too much time spent sitting each day. That’s the conclusion of a new study, which looked at “light-intensity physical activities” in relation to the risk of death. While standing for two minutes out of every hour may not counteract the ill effects of sitting, walking for just two minutes hourly may, according to research published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
About 80% of Americans fail to get the recommended amount of exercise: two-and-a-half hours of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. Judging it unlikely that people would engage in still more exercise when they’re already falling short of goals, investigators wondered if low-intensity activities like walking could make up the difference. They used data from subjects participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES); a large ongoing study of the effects of behaviors and eating patterns on health. Subject wore devices that measured their activity levels continuously.
"Based on these results we would recommend adding two minutes of walking each hour in combination with normal activities, which should include 2.5 hours of moderate exercise each week," says lead author Srinivasan Beddhu, M.D. "Exercise is great, but the reality is that the practical amount of vigorous exercise that can be achieved is limited. Our study suggests that even small changes can have a big impact," says senior author Tom Greene, Ph.D.
Srinivasan Beddhu, Guo Wei, Robin L. Marcus, Michel Chonchol, Tom Greene. Light-Intensity Physical Activities and Mortality in the United States General Population and CKD Subpopulation. CJASN, April 30, 2015 DOI: 10.2215/%u200BCJN.08410814