Health Damage From Sitting Can Be Walked Back
Short breaks to walk can improve blood flow
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2014 6:03 AM CDT
An administrative assistant at Brown & Brown Insurance works at a treadmill desk in the firm's offices in Carmel, Ind.   (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

(Newser) – Scientists have long warned that spending too much time sitting can put you in an early grave through heart disease, obesity, cancer, or other health problems—but a new study says at least some of the damage can be reversed by simply getting up and walking every so often. Researchers found that there was a decrease in the function of volunteers' leg arteries after just an hour of sitting down, but problems with blood flow were reversed among those who took five-minute breaks to walk on a treadmill every hour, reports Medical News Today.

The volunteers were men between 20 and 35 with no serious health problems. "They were inactive people, though; they did not exercise regularly," the lead researcher tells the Washington Post. "There is a risk that people who don't exercise can start sitting more and more. That's why we chose that population." The study didn't look into the benefits of standing versus sitting, but the lead researcher says he believes it was the muscle movement of walking that improved blood flow. (Another recent study found that six-second bursts of high-intensity exercise paid off for the elderly.)