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Study: Swapping 30 minutes of sitting for walking can pay off big time

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By now, the evidence is pretty clear -- it’s healthier to be active than to sit around.

But just how much benefit can we get from swapping 30 minutes of sitting for 30 minutes of walking?

According to one recent study, making this slight adjustment can pay off big time.

The study looked at data on more than 90,000 adults, with an average age of 68.

“They found that substitution of 30 minutes of physical activity for sitting time made a real difference in mortality rate -- 14%,” said Dr. Michael Roizen, of Cleveland Clinic, who did not take part in the study. 

And not only did participants who swapped sitting time for activity see a lower risk of death, those who did even more vigorous activity actually saw a 55% reduced mortality risk.

Researchers found much of the participants sedentary time was spent in front of the television.

Instead of sitting on the couch to watch television, Roizen recommends watching TV while walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike.

But, of course, swapping sitting time for movement involves changing habits.

Roizen said a good way to make walking a part of your everyday routine is to walk with a buddy. Make it a point to go outside with a spouse or friend every day and take a walk around the block.

He said one thing is for sure, no matter your age, adding 30 minutes of moderate walking to your day can benefit your health down the road.

“You build bigger hippocampus -- your memory center -- with just 30 minutes of walking a day,” Roizen said. “You build more cardiovascular fitness; you get rid of some of the fat that’s associated with developing cancer the same way. So just substituting a little bit of time gives you a huge benefit.” 

Complete results of the study can be found in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.