Walking for five minutes every half an hour leads to better health outcomes, a new study has identified.
Academics from Columbia University have found that breaking up prolonged sitting will prevent the development of various health complications.
During the study, 11 participants were split into five different groups, with each group following a different exercise regime.
The exercise “snacks” under review during the investigation included one minute of walking after every 30 minutes of sitting; one minute after 60 minutes; five minutes every 30; five minutes every 60; and no walking.
Chief author Dr Keith Diaz 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.”
All of the participants completed the study in a laboratory by sitting down and only moving to complete their required exercise regime or to go to the toilet.
The team of scientists looked at the blood pressure and blood sugar levels of all the adults taking part in the study.
They found that the participants walking for five minutes every half an hour had the best health outcomes.
In addition, they detected that walking for one minute every half hour was also good for your health.
Meanwhile, walking for one or five minutes every hour did not improve your health outcomes, the study has reported.
According to the findings, all of the walking participants’ blood pressure was four to five mmHg lower than those sitting all day.
Dr Diaz noted: “This is a sizeable decrease, comparable to the reduction you would expect from exercising daily for six months.”
Walking for five minutes every 30 minutes also improves your fatigue levels and emotional wellbeing.
Dr Diaz said: “The effects on mood and fatigue are important. People tend to repeat behaviours that make them feel good and that are enjoyable.
“What we know now is that for optimal health, you need to move regularly at work, in addition to a daily exercise routine.”
He added: “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 research was published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.