Sitting for long, uninterrupted periods may actually be bad for health.
That’s according to new research, which says it slows vital blood flow to the brain, posing potential consequences for our long-term well-being.
Specifically, decreased flow can affect cognitive function and risks a greater likelihood of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimers.
Fortunately, walking for just 2 minutes every half an hour can offset this, restoring healthy circulation.
Researchers at Liverpool John Moores University analysed the seating habits of 15 office co-workers over three separate sessions.
During each, they wore ultrasound probes which tracked blood flow through their middle cerebral arteries, which serves the brain directly.
In the first session they sat continuously for four hours, with the exception of brief bathroom breaks. In the second, they performed two minutes of brisk walking on nearby treadmills at 30-minute intervals.
Then, in the third session, they walked for eight minutes every two hours.
Blood flow reduced during the first and last sessions when activity was minimal or every two hours but rose considerably when subjects were active regularly.
Sophie Carter, a doctoral student who led the study, said the findings re-assert the need for short but regular walking breaks.
“Only the frequent two-minute walking breaks had an overall effect of preventing a decline in brain blood flow,” she says.
They published their findings in the Journal of Applied Physiology, earlier this summer.