Break It Up, Break It Up

Researchers at Indiana University have found that breaking your daily walk into several short episodes is better for your blood pressure than one sustained bout of exercise.

They asked 20 people to walk on a treadmill for 40 minutes, and on another day to walk on the treadmill for four separate ten-minute periods over the course of 3-1/2 hours. The subjects’ blood pressure dropped after the exercise on both days, but the drop lasted only 7 hours when they walked continuously, and it lasted 11 hours when the walk was broken up. As it turns out, the incremental drops in blood pressure after each short bout of exercise were cumulative, each adding to the one before.

What does this mean for you? Walking a little bit here and a little bit there does more good than you might think. Taking the stairs and parking a bit further away may seem sort of useless, but what it adds up to could be healthier than a sustained workout at the gym.

We are a species that’s meant to walk upright, after all, and every little bit really does count.

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