Science and Health

Short Walks Can Offset Damage Of Prolonged Sitting

Walking for just five minutes could help make up for all that sitting around you do.

Short Walks Can Offset Damage Of Prolonged Sitting
Getty Images / John Moore

All right. So we've been told sitting is bad, but now there's a ray of light for our fellow office workers. New research suggests short walks could offset the damage done by prolonged sitting.

Researchers looked at 12 healthy men who took part in two trials. In one they sat for three hours and didn't move their legs — that must have been really boring. In another, they sat and also walked on a treadmill at various points.

The study was done by Indiana University, and according to its press release"Study participants who walked for five minutes for each hour of sitting saw their arterial function stay the same. ... It is likely that the increase in muscle activity and blood flow accounts for this."

The release also said when people sit, "slack muscles do not contract to effectively pump blood to the heart," which means blood can just sit there and pool in the legs. Indiana University calls the findings "the first experimental evidence of these effects." (Video via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

HealthDay really summed it up in a short, sweet way ... that could also make you fear for your life: "Get moving, even if it's just for a bit, to prevent blood clots."

Because blood clots are actually a really big, bad deal. They form when blood doesn't circulate right ... kind of like when you sit too long. WebMD says they can even cause heart attacks or stroke. 

But we might have a solution. Maybe all offices should be equipped with these ... treadmill desks. Yeah, walk and type at the same time! 

Although just taking five-minute walks around the office would be a heck of a lot cheaper. 

This video includes images from Getty Images and Sharyn Morrow / CC BY NC ND 2.0.