Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

How Often Should I Take A Break From Sitting?

June 17, 2024

As a country we have become more sedentary due to technological advances at work.  Allowing employees to sit and work from a computer work station for most of their day without requiring much standing, walking, or physical activity in the workplace.  Medical evidence continues to identify uninterrupted, long duration sitting is the most hazardous of sedentary behavior.  Based on the evidence, researchers are advising sedentary individuals to begin to incorporate short breaks throughout their work day to break up their prolonged sitting time and reduce their risk of diseases.  A new paper helps shed light on how often and how long individuals should aim to break from their prolonged sitting.

Duran and colleagues published their findings on which breaks had the greatest impact on cardiovascular risk factors (Med Sci Sp Ex. 2024).  Authors performed a well conducted study of middle to older age adults who participated in 5 separate 8 hour days.  Including

  • 1 day of uninterrupted sitting
  • 1 day of a 1 minute break every 30 minutes
  • 1 day of a 5 minute break every 30 minutes
  • 1 day of a 1 minute break every 60 minutes
  • 1 day of a 5 minute break every 60 minutes

During each break participants were asked to perform light intensity walking.  During the experimental groups researchers collected glucose and blood pressure testing.  They reported all breaks helped improve blood pressure vs. uninterrupted sitting, but taking a 1 minute break every hour was most effective.  Conversely, the only group which improved blood glucose involved participants taking a 5 minute break every 30 minutes.  Authors recommended taking more frequent (every 30 min), longer duration (5 min) breaks for blood glucose, but lower dosing of breaks may be used for blood pressure.

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