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Taking 5-Minute Walks Every Hour Could Counteract Damage Done By Sitting

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Let's face it: Sitting all day is terrible for you. Multiple studies have found prolonged period of sitting are associated with everything from heart disease and obesity to cancer and blood clots.

Now, new research out of Indiana University has some positive news. The study found that just three short – and even slow – walks could help counteract the negative health effects associated with three hours of sitting.

Researchers explain that, in participants who sat for three hours, the "flow-mediated dilation, or the expansion of the arteries as a result of increased blood flow, of the main artery in the legs," was impaired by as much as 50-percent. But study subjects who got up and walked for just five minutes of each hour they spent sitting experienced no drop in arterial function.

"American adults sit for approximately eight hours a day," says Saurabh Thosar, who led the study as a doctoral candidate at IU's School of Public Health-Bloomington, in a release. "The impairment in endothelial function is significant after just one hour of sitting. It is interesting to see that light physical activity can help in preventing this impairment."

The study will be published in the spring in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

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