As convenient and comfortable as sitting while you work can be, it also has detrimental effects. To find ways to counteract these health effects, scientists from Columbia University in New York carried out a study, and the result was that five minutes of walking after thirty minutes of sitting could make a lot of difference.
There were a total of five “exercise snacks” tried by the research team during the study. There was a one-minute walk break after thirty minutes of sitting, a two-minute walk break after sixty minutes, five-minute breaks after thirty and sixty minutes, and no breaks at all. In the end, the researchers discovered that the five-minute break after thirty minutes was the best counteracting exercise.
Why You Need to Sit Less
Except for those who require wheelchairs, there is mounting evidence that sitting for long periods is not suitable for your health. Numerous studies have established a connection between inactivity and health problems such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, some forms of cancer, and premature death.
In addition, researchers believe prolonged sitting can affect your metabolic rate and, as a result, the body’s ability to control glucose, breakdown fat, and blood pressure.
The Result of the Research in Details
One study found that walking for just five minutes every thirty minutes was most effective. It was the only method applied that significantly reduced glucose and blood pressure levels simultaneously.
Researchers found that compared to sitting all day, participants whose walking routine included frequent breaks saw a 58% decrease in blood sugar levels after eating a large meal. They also observed small but noticeable improvements in blood sugar levels during one-minute walking breaks every thirty minutes. However, these improvements were not significant enough.
No benefit was seen by taking short breaks to walk, either one minute or five minutes every sixty minutes.
How to Walk While You Work
You can stay active at work in a variety of ways. Purchasing a treadmill is an option, but it’s not the only option. A standing desk or a workstation that can be adjusted so that you can work standing up or sitting down is an excellent option for getting started. You can use anything from a shelf or countertop to a solid box as a standing desk if you’re in a pinch or want to save money.
Start by switching up your routine frequently because adapting to a job that requires physical exertion can take time. Spend thirty minutes standing and then five minutes sitting at your desk. Maintain a constant alternating pattern. When you get the hang of it, you may gradually lengthen the time you go without sitting. Just remember to take regular breaks!