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Even 3 Minutes of Walking Helps Kids' Health: Study

A small study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, found that interrupting long periods of sitting with moderate-intensity walking can benefit kids.

Four children walking through outdoor hallway wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock
The start of school often means kids spend way less time being active. After all, they spend hours sitting in a classroom—and then need to buckle down and finish their homework in their free time.

If you're concerned that your kid isn't getting enough exercise during recess or at after school activities, researchers may have found a simple solution.

A small new study, published online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, found that interrupting long periods of sitting with moderate-intensity walking can benefit children.

Researchers examined 28 healthy children (aged 7 and 11) who were at a normal weight, and found that devoting just three minutes to walking every half hour when sitting for a total of three hours resulted in lower blood sugar and insulin level when compared to a different day when the children were sedentary for the entire three hours.

"While we know getting 30 minutes or more of moderate intensity exercise each day improves children's health and metabolism, small behavioral changes like taking short walking breaks can also yield some benefits," said the study's senior author, Jack A. Yanovski, M.D., in a press release.

Researchers also added that the additional activity did not appear to increase the children's appetites.

Of course, this was a very small study, and in order to draw more concrete results, further research would need to be done with a larger sample size. But it's encouraging news at a time when fitting in time to exercise can be a struggle—and an easy thing our kids could do throughout the school day or when doing homework.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

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