Long periods of walking are actually more beneficial to your health than high intensity exercise in the gym, a new study has claimed.

Low intensity exercise improves insulin sensitivity and blood lipid levels at a better rate than an hour-long high octane workout, according to the study.

Researchers from Maastricht University in Holland, split 18 youngsters aged 19 to 24 into three groups — one sat for 14 hours doing no exercise, the second sat for 13 hours but did an hour of vigorous exercise, and the final group sat for six hours, walked for four and stood for two.

It was found that when energy expended was the same, cholesterol and lipid levels were significantly improved in the group that exercised over a longer period, far more than in the other two groups, the Daily Mail reported.

“One hour of daily physical exercise cannot compensate for the negative effects of inactivity on insulin sensitivity and plasma lipids if the rest of the day is spent sitting,” Dr Hans Savelberg, from Maastricht University in Holland, who led the study, said.

“Reducing inactivity by low intensity activities such as walking at a leisurely pace and standing is more effective than physical exercise in improving these parameters in sedentary subjects,” Savelberg said.

“Our study suggests that in addition to health interventions that stress the importance of spending enough energy to maintain a neutral energy balance, a minimal daily amount of non-sitting time should also be promoted,” Savelberg added.

The study was published in journal PLOS ONE.

(This article was published on February 14, 2013)
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