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May 13, 2015 | 2 minute read

Swapping Sitting for Two-Minutes of Walking May Lengthen Life

Emerging research suggests that sitting for long periods of time increases risk factors for many diseases, including cancer. And more than half of our waking hours — 35 minutes every hour — are spent sitting, according to a recent study. Now this study suggests that replacing just two minutes of sitting every hour with walking or another light activity may help you live longer.

The study was published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Trading sitting for standing or other low activity level was not associated with decreased mortality.

The study used data of 3,200 men and women who were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Participants all wore an accelerometer that recorded their activity intensity. Study researchers then divided the intensity levels into groups: light intensity activities and mortality. Low intensity activities included standing, note taking and making your bed; light activities include casual walking, light gardening, cleaning.

After an average follow-up of 3 years, longer sedentary time was associated with higher mortality risk. Using calculations, the study found substituting light intensity activities for sitting for two minutes each hour was associated with a 33 percent lower risk of dying. There was no difference in mortality risk by trading sitting by two minutes each hour for standing or other low intensity activity.

Trading sedentary time with moderate/vigorous activity showed a lower risk of mortality also but the findings did not reach signficance, probably because the study population doing this was not large enough to reach significance, the author notes. But when analyzing moderate activity and mortality risk on its own, the more activity, the lower the risk.


SourceSrinivasan 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. CJASN, April 30, 2015 DOI: 10.2215/%u200BCJN.08410814

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