Can Three-Minute Workouts Counteract Sitting All Day?

You may have heard the phrase, “Sitting is the new smoking.” While sitting may not be as detrimental as a regular smoking habit, being sedentary certainly brings about a host of poor health outcomes. Many people spend the majority of their days and nights on their behinds — from driving to work to sitting behind a desk to parking it on the couch when you get home.

This excessively sedentary behavior is linked to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even dying earlier. So, is there an easy way (other than standing more) to combat these risks? New research, published in the journal Endocrinology and Metabolism, suggests that simply adding three minutes of movement every 30 minutes may do the trick.

This study looked at various health markers of 16 middle-aged adults with obesity who worked in sedentary office jobs. Over the 3-week study, half of the participants were instructed via a wearable monitor to move for three minutes per half-hour, while the other half changed nothing. They found that those who maintained these mini-movements over the three weeks experienced significantly better health markers, including lower blood sugar and higher levels of our healthy cholesterol called HDL.

So, what mini-movements did these people do? It didn’t seem to matter! As long as they were up and moving, they saw the benefits. To employ this practice in your day-to-day life, try these quick, 3-minute exercises and watch your health improve:
  • Jumping jacks
  • Take a lap or two around your house or office building
  • Walk or jog up the stairs
  • Alternate between doing high-knees and squats
  • Hold a plank
  • Do sets of push-ups or sit-ups
  • Pace around on a phone call
Or, try another form of movement that you enjoy — and know that you only have to do 3 minutes to see the benefits. However, keep in mind that this is the minimum; more movement is usually better!

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