Arteries are essential for carrying oxygen-rich blood to your heart and other parts of your body, so if they become clogged it can prove fatal.
Indeed, heart disease is one of the biggest killers in the UK, with twice the number dying of it than breast cancer.
Plaque build up has been attributed to a diet high in saturated fats.
Known as atherosclerosis, you’re also at a higher risk of it, according to the British Heart Foundation, if you smoke, have type 2 diabetes, have high blood pressure, have high cholesterol levels, are overweight or obese, or are not physically active.
New research may have discovered a way to lower levels of fatty acids that lead to clogged arteries.
In a study by the University of Otago in New Zealand, researchers discovered that short regular brisk walks – and a daily longer one – lowered blood lipids.
Around two minutes of walking roughly every half a hour, and one 30-minute walk, each day was all it took to trigger the positive effects.
It’s because this activity reduces triglyceride – or lipid – levels when measured after a meal consumed around 24 hours after starting the activity.
High levels of triglycerides are associated with a hardening of the arteries, as well as other cardiovascular conditions.
Long periods of sitting are already known to increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and death from all causes.
The researchers had also previously discovered that the same amount of walking could lower blood glucose and insulin levels.
Lead study author, Dr Meredith Peddie, said that previous international research had failed to identify that regular walking affects lipid levels.
However, she suggests this is probably due to the effect not usually being immediate.
In the study, the researchers found that short regular walking breaks and 30 minutes of continuous physical activity – or the two combined – improved participant’s metabolic health.
Dr Peddie said: “We believe there is an important health message here – the traditional half-hour block of moderate to vigorous activity is important, but so is limiting long periods of sitting by undertaking regular short bouts of activity throughout the day.
“This approach, if maintained over months or years, may be enough to explain why individuals who regularly break up sedentary time have better cardio-metabolic health outcomes.”