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Taking a walk improves health, reduces sedentary behavior

Aids Health Foundation

Lacing up your athletic shoes for a 30-minute walk is a great way to be active and reduce sedentary behavior, says author Alex Montoye, a clinical exercise physiology professor in Ball State University’s Human Performance Laboratory.

 “Just getting up and moving is a start, but taking that 30-minute walk every day will make us feel better in the long run.”

A recent study by Montoye and several other Ball State faculty members found that Americans typically spend 64 percent of their waking hours in a sedentary position. The faculty analyzed data from about 300 adults, ages 19-90, who participated in Ball State’s clinical exercise physiology program’s research during the last several years. Electronic measuring devices strapped to participants’ hips tracked their movements 24 hours a day for a week.

“Our study found that most adults simply aren’t moving, and that’s because many of our jobs are done in a seated position while working at a computer or something similar. At the same time, much of our leisure time is often spent in front of a screen, such as for TV, social media and smartphones.”

What you can do
To reduce time on the couch at home or in a chair at the office, the research team recommends average adults modify their routines by:
Doing short bursts of exercises for a minute per hour while watching television or working on the computer. 
Standing up to speak on the phone.
Taking a short walk around the office or home once an hour.
Using a stand-up desk.
Walking to speak with a colleague in person instead of by phone or exchanging emails.

“Since we live in a society where work is now done at a desk, it is very important that we make small changes in our daily habits,” Montoye said. “Those little changes will make a big difference over time.”

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