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Take a five-minute walk every half hour for better health

"Even small amounts of walking spread throughout the workday can significantly lower your risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses."

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By Alice Clifford via SWNS

Portrait of successful happy woman on her way to work on street. Confident business woman wearing blazer carrying side bag walking with a smile. Smiling woman wearing sunglasses and walking on street.
(Ground Picture via Shutterstock)

A five-minute walk every half an hour is just the tonic for better health, according to a new study.

Following the regime has the power to lower both blood sugar levels and blood pressure, say scientists.

The Columbia University study shows that taking these specific walking breaks can reduce blood sugar spikes by almost 60 percent compared to sitting all day.

They also leave you feeling less tired and significantly improve your mood.

The 11 participants of the study sat in an ergonomic chair for eight hours and were instructed when to take walking breaks.

They took part in five different regimes. They either walked for one minute every 30 minutes of sitting, one minute after 60 minutes, five minutes every 30, five minutes every 60, or they didn’t walk at all.


Study lead author Professor Keith Diaz, of Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, said: “If we hadn’t compared multiple options and varied the frequency and duration of the exercise, we would have only been able to provide people with our best guesses of the optimal routine.”

The researchers ensured that each person didn’t over or under-exercise.

The participants were allowed to work on laptops, read books, use their phones and were given meals throughout the study.

After all the tests were done it was revealed that the optimal amount of movement was five minutes of walking every 30 minutes.

Taking a walking break every 30 minutes for one minute also provided modest benefits for blood sugar levels throughout the day.


However, walking every 60 minutes for either one minute or five had no positive impact.

The researchers found that walking significantly reduced blood pressure by four to five mmHg compared to sitting all day.

Dr. Diaz said: “This is a sizeable decrease, comparable to the reduction you would expect from exercising daily for six months.”

He added: “The effects on mood and fatigue are important.

“People tend to repeat behaviors that make them feel good and that are enjoyable.”


He added: “What we know now is that for optimal health, you need to move regularly at work, in addition to a daily exercise routine.

“While that may sound impractical, our findings show that even small amounts of walking spread through the workday can significantly lower your risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses.”

The study was published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

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