There are pretty much no health benefits to drinking soda. It's linked to obestity, diabetes, and poor cholesterol. With that being said, you’re most likely still going to drink the sweet stuff, as half the U.S. population downs a can on a regular basis. In that case, I have some good news for you. A recent study shows some of soda's effects can be reversed by simply walking around a bit more.

The study was headed by Dr. Amy Bidwell, who at the time worked at Syracuse University. Bidwell had 22 healthy, college-aged students drink soda every day: two servings of lemon-lime soda with 75 grams of fructose, to be exact. The researchers took regular observations of their bodies’ response to the fructose intake by recording their blood sugar, insulin levels, and other measures of general and metabolic health, The New York Times reported. The volunteers were also asked to complete questionnaires about their day-to-day diet and were equipped with an activity monitor to measure their daily amount of physical activity.

Half of the volunteers were asked to move around twice as much as they normally would and complete a total of 12,000 steps a day; this translates to about six miles. The control half were advised to carry on with as much physical activity as they normally would. It’s not surprising that results strongly reflected the amount of physical movement volunteers completed each day. Participants who increased their number of daily steps “wiped out all of the disagreeable changed wrought by the extra fructose,” The Times reported. Even with the extra fructose intake, active young people were able to maintain normal blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Bidwell asserts that her findings do not suggest a “key” to drinking as much soda as your heart desires without any of the nasty side effects. Instead, the researcher hopes her results send out this simple yet important message: “If you are going to regularly consume fructose, be sure to get up and move around.”

The science behind Bidwell’s results is rather simple. Fructose, the form of sugar found in soft drinks, is metabolized in the liver where much of it becomes fatty acids. These fatty acids can either stay in the liver and contribute to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or leave via the bloodstream and cause biological trauma elsewhere in the body. Physical movement is able to change how the body uses fructose and nearly erase any negative effects that too much fructose can cause to the body.

Other than offering us some forgiveness for the six rum and cokes we may have downed last Friday, this study also offers additional good news: You don’t have to be a runner to be healthy! One needn’t complete a questionnaire to understand that the general consensus on running is that it’s not fun. Even hardcore runners will complain every so often about this form of exercise.

This study shows that young people don’t need to go to any extreme lengths to achieve a healthy amount of physical activity. Most volunteers in the study didn’t even formally exercise. They simply “sat less, moved more,” said Bidwell, explaining that doing things such as taking the stairs, parking further away from the store, or even just taking a casual stroll can be enough to help you get on the track to good health.

Source: Bidwell A, Fairchild TJ, Redmond J, Wang L, Keslacy S, Kanaley JA. Physical Activity Offsets the Negative Effects of a High Fructose Diet. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2014.