A new study shows that getting up from your desk and going for a quick, two-minute walk every hour can drastically improve your health.
The study, which was carried out by researchers at the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Utah School of Medicine, involved an examination of data associated with more than 3,200 people. Researchers were specifically looking to find out more about low-intensity physical activity, such as quick, short walks or even standing up.
Those involved in the study were followed over a three-year period. During that time 137 participants died.
In the end, the study showed that short bursts of light activity–including walking, cleaning and even gardening–can help people live longer and healthier lives. In fact, the study revealed that two minutes of light activity every hour helped a normally sedentary person lower their risk of premature death by an impressive 33-percent.
Dr. Srinivasan Beddhu, the study’s lead author and a professor of medicine, says the study shows less intense physical activity can be very beneficial. “It was fascinating to see the results because the current national focus is on moderate or vigorous activity,” Beddhu said. “To see that light activity had an association with lower mortality is intriguing.”
Still, Beddhu says it remains important that people continue to get about 2.5 hours of moderate exercise–which can strengthen the heart, muscles, and bones–every week. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, moderate exercise includes very brisk walking, mowing the line, cycling, badminton, heavy cleaning, and tennis.