Long walks may be better than quick gym exercise: Study

Eva Kucera and her husband, Denis, go for a brisk walk at Bell Park in Sudbury, ON



Going for long walks may have more health benefits than quick workouts at the gym, a small study suggests.

Researchers from Maastricht University in the Netherlands found low-intensity exercise -- simply standing and walking for long stretches -- improved insulin sensitivity and blood lipid levels (indicators of diabetes and obesity) more than intense one-hour exercises.

Researchers studied 18 men and women aged 19-24, and got some of them to sit for 14 hours a day and not work out, another group to sit for 13 hours a day and exercise vigorously for an hour, and the rest of them to substitute six hours of sitting with four hours of walking and two hours standing.

The study found those who stood and walked throughout the day had "significantly improved insulin levels" than the other groups.

"The study concludes that when energy expenditure is equivalent, longer durations of low-intensity exercise may offer more benefits than shorter periods of intense activity," a statement released Wednesday said.

The study was published in the PLOS One journal.

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