Workers who take a deliberate two minutes out of every hour to walk around the office may live longer than their colleagues who remain seated, a new study suggests.
In recent years, the theory that long periods of sitting contribute to adverse health effects has gained significant backing, reports Science Daily. However, researchers from the University of Utah School of Medicine found that simply standing for a few minutes every hour did nothing to counteract the negative effects, but that engaging in “low intensity activities” — like walking — was 33% more likely to extend the lifespan of people who live a generally sedentary lifestyle.
“It was fascinating to see the results because the current national focus is on moderate or vigorous activity,” said lead author Dr. Srinivasan Beddhu. “To see that light activity had an association with lower mortality is intriguing.”
The study analyzed data from 2003-2004, when the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey attached an accelerometer to 3,243 participants and measured their physical activity. They were followed for three years to collect the data, during which 137 people died.
“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,” said senior author Dr. Tom Greene.