Get Off Your Duff and Live Longer

Posted by in Health Matters

walkingWe all know that sitting for long stretches is bad for you. At the very least, you’re burning the least amount of calories possible. On the other extreme, you increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other negative health outcomes.

Get Moving!

But wait, there’s more. A study by the University of Utah Health Sciences found that walking just two minutes a hour for each waking hour could offset some of the risks. The benefits come in part from the extra 400 kcal a week that you’ll burn. That’s the equivalent of walking four miles. And that’s not too shabby.

The study also highlighted one disturbing statistic. Researchers estimated that 80 percent of Americans do not get the recommended 2.5 hours of moderate intensity exercise a week. In short, we’re not exercising nearly enough to stay healthy or to improve our quality of life. And that’s sad.

Make It Matter

I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit to a need for improvement in this area. While I typically surpass the 2.5 hour activity goal, I do sit for long stretches at night when we’re watching TV.

But the 2-minute goal is really not that hard to make, even with the TV watching. Commercials, I guess, are good for one thing anyway—to get me off my duff. That’s not unreasonable. I can do that much.

The study is important. It reminds us that even short bursts of activity matter. It puts an easy solution in our grasp. The researchers reported that it was the activity that made the difference, not merely sitting for two minutes less. And it’s activity, not just standing that matters.

Some ways you may incorporate walking into your day include the usual round up of walking to your colleague’s desk rather than sending the email. You can also walk as you take calls on your cellphone instead of sitting. That’s what I do when my husband calls me. You’d be surprised at how quickly those steps add up.

You have your game plan now. It’s doable and not overly taxing. Get up, and get moving. It’s one of the best things you can do to improve your health. Chris DR

photo credit: King Penguins walking on the beach via photopin (license)