If you find yourself chained to a desk for the majority of your workday, science says to take a hike, literally.
A study recently published in the journal Experimental Physiology suggests a brief 10-minute stroll is enough to restore blood flow to your body after long-term sitting. According to the study’s first author, Robert Restaino, a doctoral student at the University of Missouri, "Although the size of our sample was small, the effects and results we found were still profound."
Long-term sedentary periods are linked to a number of health problems, including heart disease. "The obvious take-home is that uninterrupted sitting and inactivity leads to microvascular dysfunction, and therefore is unhealthy," said Dr. William Gray, director of endovascular services at New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia University Medical Center.
Physical exercise increases levels of nitric oxide in the body, the molecule that triggers blood vessels to open, allowing blood flow to increase. In addition, the contraction of muscles that occurs while walking or running boosts circulation. Simply put, Restiano emphasized, “Cumulatively, these effects of a short walk are all playing important roles in improving impairments seen during a prolonged bout of sitting.”
So, the next time you take a coffee break at the office, hit the café around the corner, not the break room.
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Do you take regular walk breaks at work? Would this habit work for you? Tell us in the comments below.