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Sitting for too long during the day can have a negative impact on health. Even those who put in an exercise session during the day, will see undesirable health effects if the rest of the day is spent in sedentary activities. (However, any exercise is better than nothing.) There is an easy way to counteract this, according to a recent study. Stand up and move for roughly three minutes every half an hour to reduce the harmful effects of over-sitting.

The study found that taking as few as 15 steps during these micro-breaks improved blood sugar control in the office workers taking part in the study. The researchers suggest this likely represents the minimum amount of exercise required for health benefits.

Reducing Sitting Time at Work Study

The study was small, involving 16 middle-age office workers who were at risk for Type 2 diabetes. Half the participants continued their usual sedentary routines; the rest downloaded an app that alerted them to move every 30 minutes throughout the workday. This activity ranged from squatting to marching in place to hopping. But they had to take a minimum of 15 steps for the app to register that they had exercised.

Study Results

After three weeks, both groups underwent a series of metabolic tests. The control group (who didn’t exercise) displayed ongoing problems with insulin resistance, blood sugar control and cholesterol levels. But the exercisers showed lowered fasting blood sugar levels and more blood sugar stability. Those who were the most active (getting an average of 75 steps during the three-minute breaks) saw the best health results.


The more we are sedentary, the greater risk there is for developing metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes. If you are concerned that you may be spending too much time sitting, consider downloading an app that reminds you to move every 30 minutes and increase your movement outside of the workday.

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