Is your office job killing your health? This five-minute tip can help


By Shalene Gupta

In a recent New Yorker cartoon, a medieval executioner stands next to a prisoner in a room full of torture devices. He points to a wooden chair and desk and says: “This last one may not look like much, but just see what it’ll do to your back . . . ”

According to a new study in Medicine & Science, sitting all day is indeed terrible for you. But there’s a relatively easy way to counteract it: five minute walking breaks.

Researchers asked eleven middle-aged men to sit for eight hours to mimic the conditions of a standard workday. On one day, the men merely sat. On other days, they tested different strategies, like walking one minute every half an hour, or walking five minutes every hour.

The researchers found that the only strategy that reduced blood sugar-levels, compared to sitting all day, was walking five minutes every half an hour. Subjects who did this reduced blood sugar spikes after eating by 60%, and saw their blood pressure drop by four to five points. However, even subjects who walked less frequently and for shorter amounts of time saw improved blood pressure—people who walked for just one minute every hour also saw their blood pressure drop by five points. In addition, the researchers found walking once every hour also improved mood and reduced fatigue.  

The researchers wrote: “Take a five-minute light walk every half-hour. If you have a job or lifestyle where you have to sit for prolonged periods, this one behavior change could reduce your health risks from sitting.” What the paper does not cover, however, is how one is supposed to concentrate if you are walking every thirty minutes.


Is your office job killing your health? This five-minute tip can help

Fast Company