A recent study from Columbia University in New York has found that taking 5 minutes of walking every half-hour can help counteract the health risks associated with prolonged sitting. Led by Keith Diaz, PhD, the study tested five different strategies of physical activity 'snacks'. These included walking for 1 minute after every 30 minutes of sitting, 1 minute after 60 minutes, 5 minutes every 30 minutes, 5 minutes every 60 minutes, and no walking. Results showed that the most effective strategy was taking 5 minutes of walking every 30 minutes, as this was the only amount that significantly lowered both blood sugar and blood pressure. Although walking for 1 or 5 minutes every 60 minutes provided no benefit, all activity breaks significantly lowered blood pressure by 4 to 5 mmHg compared to sitting all day.
Doctors recommend that adults move more and sit less, and this study provides evidence that even small increases in physical activity can have positive impacts on blood sugar and blood pressure levels over time. Furthermore, experts suggest other activities to do during the workday, such as standing instead of sitting, taking activity breaks at regular intervals, and walking around the building or climbing stairs. This research illustrates that even small changes in physical activity can improve our overall health and well-being.