Even a few minutes per hour of gentle walking reduces harms of oversitting

The New York Times “Well” blog reported that a study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology suggests that “even a few minutes per hour of moving instead of remaining in a chair might substantially reduce the harms of oversitting.” After analyzing data on some “3,626 adult men and women,” researchers found that people “who walked around after standing, replacing some of their sitting time with a light-intensity activity like strolling, gained a substantial benefit in terms of mortality risk.”

If participants “replaced as little as two minutes of sitting each hour with gentle walking, they lowered their risk of premature death by about 33 percent, compared with people who sat almost nonstop.”

The researchers found an additional reduction in mortality risk if people engaged in moderate exercise instead of sitting, although the numbers of respondents who jogged or leapt about instead of sitting was so small that statistical determinations were difficult.

Over all, the study’s findings are “encouraging,” said Dr. Srinivasan Beddhu, a professor of medicine at the University of Utah, who led the study. They are especially so since the benefits seem to be additive, he said. Someone who already is walking for two minutes per hour and now starts to walk two minutes more — displacing an additional two minutes of what had been sitting time — could reduce his or her risk of premature death even more than from walking two minutes alone.

Still, the possible benefits of strolling more often around the office seem alluring and the risks slight, especially if you invite your boss to join you, highlighting your tender care for his or her well-being.

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2015. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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