Walk This Way: How Just 120 Seconds Every Hour Can Boost Your Health and Extend Your Life!

Pressure on a sensitive part of your body is shortening your life expectancy even as you read this. But don’t worry, a simple, 2-minute activity can relieve that pressure and help you live longer. That sensitive part of your body is the one that’s currently plumped down in your chair. Studies show that by spending too many hours sitting, it shortens your life expectancy. However, breaking up your periods of sitting with two minutes of walking every hour can counteract much of the damage caused by sitting.

The Risks of Prolonged Sitting

A study at the University of Utah School of Medicine shows that if you spend more than half of your day in a chair, you need to walk for a couple of minutes every hour to avoid problems later in life. The researchers found that two minutes of even “light intensity” activity an hour can defend against sitting’s increase in risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other health issues.

“It was fascinating to see the results because the current national focus is on moderate or vigorous activity. To see that light activity had an association with lower mortality is intriguing,” says researcher Srinivasan Beddhu.

The Benefits of Just Two Minutes of Walking

Beddhu points out that just two minutes of walking every hour adds up to quite a bit of exercise over a period of weeks and months. Suppose you do this light exercise for 16 hours each day. In that case, you burn up about 400 extra calories each week, which adds up to more than 20,000 calories a year.

How to Incorporate Mini-Walk Breaks in Your Day

Here are some tips to help you incorporate two-minute walk breaks into your daily routine:

  1. Set a timer or use an app to remind you to get up and walk for two minutes every hour you’re awake.
  2. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator when you can.
  3. Park further away from the door at work or when running errands so you have to walk a little more.
  4. Get up and walk around while talking on the phone.
  5. Walk to a co-worker’s desk to ask a question instead of emailing them.
  6. Use your lunch break to take a walk outside or around the office building.

The Importance of Moderate Exercise

While these mini-walks are beneficial, the researchers still believe that you should perform moderate exercise during the week too. At least 2.5 hours of activities like fast walking, jogging, playing basketball, weight-lifting, etc., should be incorporated into your routine to strengthen the cardiovascular system and skeletal muscles. But light exercise to interrupt your sitting is just as important.

“Our study suggests that even small changes can have a big impact,” says researcher Tom Greene, who is with the Medical School’s Department of Population Health Sciences.

Take Action Now

If you’re reading this article sitting down, now is the perfect time to take action. Stand up and walk for a few minutes. Do this, and your entire body will thank you. Maintaining good health doesn’t always require major life overhauls or drastic measures. Sometimes, it’s the small, consistent actions we take each day that can make a significant, lasting impact on our well-being. Starting with just two minutes of walking every hour, you’ll notice improvements in your health and energy levels, and you’ll be taking an essential step to counteract the harmful effects of sitting for too long.