Taking a walk improves your health and reduces sedentary behavior. Lacing up your athletic shoes for a 30-minute walk is a great way to be active and reduce sedentary behavior, says Alex Montoye, a clinical exercise physiology professor in Ball State University’s Human Performance Laboratory.
That’s the goal of participating in National Walking Day on April 1, says the American Heart Association.
“National Walking Day is a good reminder to people of the benefits of being physically active,” Montoye said. “Just getting up and moving is a start, but taking that 30-minute walk every day will make us feel better in the long run.”
A recent study by Montoye and several other Ball State faculty members found that Americans typically spend 64 percent of their waking hours in a sedentary position. The faculty analyzed data from about 300 adults, ages 19-90, who participated in Ball State’s clinical exercise physiology program’s research during the last several years. Electronic measuring devices strapped to participants’ hips tracked their movements 24 hours a day for a week.
“Our study found that most adults simply aren’t moving, and that’s because many of our jobs are done in a seated position while working at a computer or something similar. At the same time, much of our leisure time is often spent in front of a screen, such as for TV, social media and smartphones.”
What you can do
To reduce time on the couch at home or in a chair at the office, the research team recommends average adults modify their routines by:
- Doing short bursts of exercises for a minute per hour while watching television or working on the computer.
- Standing up to speak on the phone.
- Taking a short walk around the office or home once an hour.
- Using a stand-up desk.
- Walking to speak with a colleague in person instead of by phone or exchanging emails.
“Since we live in a society where work is now done at a desk, it is very important that we make small changes in our daily habits,” Montoye said. “Those little changes will make a big difference over time.”