Researchers recommend two-minute walk every hour

If you're worried that your lifestyle has become too sedentary, here's what new research says you should do about it: Take a two-minute walk every hour.The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the University of Utah Study Design and Biostatistics Center helped fund the study, which was published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology..

To better understand an effective solution to sedentary lifestyles, researchers analyzed 3,243 participants in the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Participants wore accelerometers for several days to better track their mobility. The study tracked participants for three years, and 137 of them died during the study period.

Based on the accelerometers, researchers calculated the average minutes per hour spent either sedentary (less than 100 accelerometer counts per minute), low activity (100-499), light activity (500-2019), or moderate to vigorous activity (2020 and over). They then looked at the mortality risks if these minutes were reduced by two per hour. They found no benefits of standing for two minutes instead of sitting for two minutes. However, they found a 33 percent decreased risk in early death if someone walked or did light activity, such as gardening, for two minutes instead.

Researchers noted the findings were promising for people who can’t or don’t want to increase their activity by doing moderate or vigorous exercise—which is often the recommendation. Little changes of light movement can add up over time, and based on these findings, the researchers suggested people walk for two minutes each hour.

The study does not prove that walking two minutes every hour can prevent early death, but it does show a strong association between the two.

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