Walking in Teabag style for at least 11 minutes every day rather than your regular walking style is similar to performing 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity workout per week, according to a new study.

In fact, just walking like Monty Python’s Mr. Teabag for 12-19 minutes per day can help burn up to roughly 100 calories. It turns out Monty Python might just have been up to something!

The study finds that the short ‘silly walk’ confers major health benefits including reduced risk of mortality and cardiorespiratory fitness. In addition, it could be a way to meet the global recommendation for daily physical activity

According to WHO, physical inactivity is partaking in less than or equal to 2 hour 30 mins of moderate-intensity activity per week. Even so, the rates of physical inactivity worldwide have not budged in the past 2 decades, while the prevalence of heart disease has doubled since 1990. 

While prior studies have found Teabag’s walk and Putey’s to be more variable compared to normal walking, the researchers noted that the energy expenditure has never been quantified since the first airing of the MoSW skit in 1970.

Granted that it has a bright potential to contribute to physical activity, the researchers set out to fill this gap. Importantly, this study is aimed at those people failing to meet their recommended activity levels.

Study Methodology 

For the study, the researchers recruited a total of 13 healthy adults who had no personal history of gait disorder. The participants encompassed 6 women and 7 men between the ages of 22 and 71 (average age of 34 years). The research team took measurements of their body weight and height. They were then made to watch a video of the MoSW skit and told to mimic, as accurately as possible, the walks performed by the 2 main characters – Teabag and Putey (acted by John Cleese and Michael Palin respectively).

The participants first of all executed 3 walking trials, each lasting 5 minutes around an indoor 30m course. They were then instructed to walk casually at their normal pace. Afterward, the participants carried out both the Putey walk (which looked less silly) and the Teabag walk. (Not excluding the elements of the walk both in and out of the office).

The researchers also recorded the distance covered during each trial and also calculated their average walking speed per walk session. In addition, their gas exchange was also documented to estimate their oxygen uptake, carbon dioxide production, calories burned as well as energy expenditure.

Results

The results showed that the Teabag walk alone led to 2.5 times higher oxygen intake compared with the study participant’s normal type of walk which was identical to the Putey walk.

For men and women combined, oxygen uptake during typical walking was 11.3mL/kg/min (3.2METs), which gave a similar result for the Putey walk (12.3mL/kg/min or 3.5 METs). But, the Teabag walk gave an oxygen uptake of 27.9ml/kg/min (or 8 METs) — thereby qualifying as a vigorous-intensity physical activity. 

Further, the study authors found that switching the normal styles of walking to at least 1 minute of Teabag walking raised the energy burned by an average of 8.0 kilocalories per minute for men and 5.2Kilocalories per minute for women. 

Since it’s an experimental study and involved a small population size, their findings certainly don’t apply to everyone. This is particularly for those with gait disorders, disabilities, or other health conditions. They, however, encourage these population groups to double their daily energy expenditure by making inefficient movements the goal.

“Our analysis of the energy consumed during different styles of walking seeks to empower people to move their own bodies in more energetic—and hopefully joyful—ways,” they conclude.

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