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Study: Exercising for just minutes can offset harms of prolonged sitting

Dangers of Sitting
Posted at 5:43 PM, Jan 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-23 17:44:59-05

Numerous studies have linked long periods of sitting with obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels and unhealthy cholesterol levels, according to the Mayo Clinic.

But how much do you have to exercise to combat the harm of sitting too much? Researchers say not much.

In a randomized study, volunteers were asked to simulate a normal workday. The volunteers were asked to participate in light-intensity walking every hour for different amounts of time.

Researchers say people saw reductions in blood pressure after exercising for just one minute every hour. Blood sugar spikes were also significantly reduced when people exercised for five minutes every half hour, the study's authors said.

"We found that a five-minute walk every half-hour was able to offset a lot of the harms of sitting," Keith Diaz of Columbia University Medical Center told NPR.

The study's authors say different durations of exercise can target different problems caused by sitting.

"Higher frequency and longer duration breaks (every 30 min for 5 min) should be considered when targeting glycemic responses, while lower doses may be sufficient for BP lowering," the study says in its conclusion.