Taking hourly walks can counteract the adverse outcomes of being trapped in a cubicle, a new research concludes. You’ve probably heard the reports by now: A sedentary lifestyle, being a couch potato or glued to the workstation, will likely make an individual prone to heart diseases, diabetes, obesity, cancers, depression and even a significant decline in life expectancy.
But now a new study by the researchers at the Indiana University came up with conclusive experimental evidence that just a 5-minute walking each hour can erase the negative consequences of sitting still on the leg arteries. Sitting stationary for longer periods of time forces the muscles into an inactive state, resulting in poor contractions and a compromised blood supply to the heart. Accumulation of blood in the legs and decreased endothelial function of the arteries can also be results of being a sedentary desk-jockey. It can also affect the functioning of blood vessels.
For this study consisting of two randomized trials, the investigators recruited 11 otherwise healthy, non-obese men. While the study partakers who took a 5-minute walking break each hour were found to have a normal arterial function, participants who stayed inactive at the desks without moving elsewhere ended up with a 50 percent impairment in the arterial function, just after an hour.
The impaired endothelial function (endothelial dysfunction) is a known precursor to cardiovascular diseases. As part of our job, we’re forced to work more than eight hours each day slouching in front of a computer. Saurabh Thosar, lead researcher of the study, said that their study found a substantial impairment in the endothelial function just after an hour of sedentary time. But they found it quite riveting to learn that a mild physical activity, as small as a 5-minute walking each hour, helps unwind the negative effects.