Walking for five minutes every half hour is the best remedy against the effects of a sedentary lifestyle


Ten thousand steps and more. As we know, a sedentary lifestyle kills: 95% of the population is exposed to a risk of health deterioration due to a lack of physical activity and/or too much time spent sitting, according to one of the conclusions of the expert’s report. ‘National Health Security Agency on the subject, published in February 2022.

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The World Health Organization recalls that a sedentary lifestyle is one of the main risk factors for mortality linked to non-communicable diseases. It is therefore necessary to reduce the time spent sitting. How to do ? The team of Keith Diaz, professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Medical Center (New York), wanted to know more about the best methods for breaking this sedentary lifestyle (the time spent sitting in front of a screen, instead of work, in transport…): how often and for how long?

In this study, published on January 12 in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, the team of researchers recruited eleven volunteers, who sat in a chair for eight hours. They were allowed to work on a laptop, to read, to use their phone. Aged 40 to 60, the subjects had neither diabetes nor high blood pressure. They tested five methods over five days: first, no walking for eight hours; then one minute of walking every half hour, one minute every hour, five minutes every half hour, and finally five minutes every hour. “We monitored their diet, the time they took to eat, to go to the toilet, we monitored when they moved, the speed at which they moved, etc. »details Keith Diaz.

Significantly lowers blood sugar and blood pressure

Conclusion: five minutes of walking every half hour is the frequency that best mitigates the deleterious effects of time spent sitting. It is the only option that significantly lowers both blood sugar and blood pressure, cardiometabolic risk factors measured each time. “This option had a dramatic effect on how participants responded to large meals, reducing blood sugar spikes by 58% compared to sitting all day”precise university press release.

In addition, the researchers periodically measured the participants’ mood, fatigue, and cognitive performance levels during the tests. All walking regimens, except walking for one minute every hour, resulted in a significant decrease in fatigue and an improvement in mood. None had an effect on cognition.

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