A new study published on April 30, 2015 in the online journal, Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology offers some hope to offset the hazards of sitting for long periods of time.
Researchers at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City analyzed data collected in a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey covering 3626 mainly sedentary adults, to determine the impact of different activities, every hour, on the prolongation of their lifespan.
Having compared the data and obituaries of participants four years after the study, researchers determined that participants who got up and walked for 2 minutes on average every hour had a 33% lower death rate than the general population. For those suffering from chronic renal disease, the decline in mortality was even 41%.
But as the authors themselves note, this research must be confirmed by other studies, conducted in particular on a larger population.
Small changes to offset the “smoking of our generation”
It has long been known that sitting for long hours at a stretch dramatically increases the risk of mortality. What’s more, an article by Nilofer Merchant, published in 2013 on the famous economics blog of Harvard Business Review (HBR) ran the headline: “Sitting is the Smoking of our Generation”.
Even small changes help
This new American study suggests that even small changes can have a big impact. As lead author Srinivasan Beddhu explains, even short walks add up to a lot when repeated many times over the course of a week. Assuming 16 waking hours each day, two minutes of strolling each hour expends 400 kcal each week, which is not to be scoffed at.
So try to get up every hour and walk 2 minutes to drink some water, for example. Then you’ll probably need to go to the bathroom, another opportunity to walk in the next hour 🙂
Srinivasan Beddhu, Guo Wei, Robin L. Marcus, Michel Chonchol & Tom Greene. Light-Intensity Physical Activities and Mortality in the United States General Population and CKD Subpopulation Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. 2015