The Five-Minute Walking Miracle

The Five-Minute Walking Miracle

Cloudy mind? Damaged arteries? Growing belly? A study confirms the remedy for these health woes is precisely what the 4th century B.C. Greek philosopher Diogenes figured out: “Solvitur ambulando, he said.” It is solved by walking.

Up to 70% of North Americans spend 6-8 hours a day sitting and many spend much more. Here’s how it can add up: four hours watching TV, two hours commuting, seven hours at the office. The toll is astounding -- even if you’re relatively young: Researchers looked at guys 20-35 and found prolonged sitting caused blood to pool in the legs and reduced blood vessels’ ability to expand by 50%. That contributes to heart disease, diabetes and cancer -- and just feeling lousy.

But if you go ambulando for five minutes every hour, you’ll preserve blood vessel flexibility and dodge all kinds of health problems.

  • Download a free hourly reminder app like reMind or set your smart phone timer to go off every hour.
  • When the alarm sounds, walk up and down the stairs in your office building or home. Or head for the parking lot or backyard and do a fast once-around. Watching TV? March vigorously in place. You can always steal five minutes to save your health!
  • Get a pedometer -- you’ll be amazed at how many steps you get in by walking for five minutes during each of the hours you’re sitting!
  • Over time, increase your steps while staying with five-minute breaks. Then you’ll be walking tall, sitting pretty and have a younger RealAge!

Medically reviewed in December 2019.

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