Image via Girls.
I’m a walker. I aimlessly walk around my house when I’m on the phone, I usually walk to where I need to go (admittedly because I’ve probably missed my train) and everyday I take the time to enjoy several long, romantic walks. To my fridge.
Turns out it could actually be helping me live longer.
Yes, a new study has found that casual walking for as little as an extra two minutes per hour throughout the day has a significant benefit on longevity.
Bear with me.
As we continue to learn about just how damaging sedentary activity (i.e sitting still and doing nothing) is for our health, more and more researchers are looking into the benefits of ‘incidental exercise’. That’s the term used to describe light activity that we often do without even thinking – walking to the bathroom, up and down the stairs – and yes, even around the kitchen.
In an observational study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, researchers from Northwestern Medical School examined data from 3,626 participants from a study on ageing and checked in with them for three years. (Post continues after gallery.)
The results revealed that trading just two minutes per of hour of sitting still for normal-paced walking could reduce your risk of death by one third. For people with chronic kidney disease, the risk of dying was reduced by 41 per cent.
“Sitting for a long time strongly increases the risk of death. Our findings suggest that replacing sedentary duration with an increase in light activity might confer a survival benefit,” lead author Dr. Srinivasan Beddhu told the Huffington Post.
While moderate to high intensity exercise remains important for cardiovascular health, the findings show incidental physical activity also ranks highly.
It’s welcome news, especially for those who are unable to achieve the recommended two and a half hours of moderate activity a week.
“Combining light activity with the recommended moderate-to-vigorous activity goals has the potential to double weekly energy expenditure,” Dr Bedhu says.
Unfortunately that doesn’t mean incidental walking can totally replace your regular cardio and strength-training, but anything that gets you off your bum and on your feet is doing you good. Who’s up for a fridge workout?
How do you do incidental exercise?