Sitting for a prolonged period is associated with deleterious health outcomes. But how often should we get up from our chair and for how long? ” Five minutes every half hour say the researchers of a new study.
A research conducted by exercise physiologists at Columbia University offers a simple prescription to combat sedentary lifestyle at work: walk for five minutes every half hour during periods of prolonged sitting. In particular, this trick would lower blood sugar by 58% compared to sitting all day. Blood sugar and blood pressure remain important indicators of cardiovascular health.
Effects of walking on blood sugar, blood pressure, fatigue and mood
The researchers tested five different exercise conditions for eight hours and on five separate days: one minute of walking after every 30 minutes of sitting, one minute after 60 minutes, five minutes of walking every 30 minutes, five minutes every 60 minutes and finally, no walking (control). Glucose and blood pressure were measured every 15 and 60 minutes, respectively.
Compared to control, walking for 5 minutes every half hour is the only method that has reduced the blood sugar in a significative way. In contrast, the study authors note that lower doses may be sufficient to lower blood pressure. Furthermore, except for walking for one minute every hour, all other conditions showed a positive effect on fatigue and mood.
Although the results are satisfactory, the research only looked at eleven middle-aged people, without diabetes or high blood pressure. The researchers are now expanding their study by testing 25 different doses of walking on a wider variety of people.