You don’t need to make a major life change to see results
By Christa Sgobba

Time to pry your butt off your chair: Sitting for too long can be seriously damaging to your health. But that doesn’t mean you have to be constantly moving. Reducing your sedentary time by just 21 minutes a day can help your health, a new study in Plos One suggests.

In the study, researchers recruited 133 office workers and split them into two groups. One group underwent counselling to provide them with strategies to reduce their sedentary time; the other skipped the sessions. The researchers fitted the participants with accelerometers to see how their movement changed from baseline over the course of a year.

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After three months, the people in the get-moving group reduced their leisure sedentary time by 21 minutes per day. During that same time period, their fasting blood sugar levels significantly decreased, too.

The switch from sitting to light activity can help improve the process where your blood sugar is transported to the cells that need it, the researchers say. At the one-year mark, the group given counselling still reduced their sitting time—just not to as large an extent. After one year, they were sitting about 8 minutes less per day than they were when the study began.

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And at 12 months, the group showed even more health benefits: They maintained their levels of lean muscle mass in their legs, while the muscle mass for the no-counselling group actually decreased. They also showed improvements in a cholesterol marker called Apolipoprotein B-to-Apolipoprotein A-1 ratio, which may signal a reduction in heart risk.

These findings show that even small changes are beneficial in staving off the health effects of sitting, the researchers say. So get started: Instead of staying parked on your couch while catching up on Game of Thrones, take a walk during the break or just walk on the spot.

Originally published on menshealth.com