Standing, walking or even doing some light exercise for 20 minutes that would otherwise have been spent sitting has a dramatic positive impact on the wellbeing of people who already have average levels of health.
After a year, those 20 minutes a day translated into bio-markers that indicate a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease, researchers from the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland discovered.
They monitored the impact of a modest lifestyle change in a group of 133 office workers who sat around for nearly 10 hours a day, either at work or home. Half were encouraged to replace 21 minutes of sitting each day for some light activity, while the rest carried on with their usual sedentary routine.
Not surprisingly, the participants found the extra 21 minutes mainly in their own leisure time, and replaced sitting for a more active time with their children and in family activities. It also sets a good example to children to be more active, the researchers said.