According to research, a daily 22-minute activity session — such as a brisk walk, jog, or cycle — is sufficient to offset the harmful health impacts of excessive sitting.
Sitting for extended amounts of time — whether due to the nature of some office jobs or simply watching TV, for example — has become a big problem for most people, with those participating more likely to die early.
However, a study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, has shown that moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) can help you counter the effects of prolonged sitting.
Walking at 4mph or faster, heavy cleaning, badminton, or cycling at 10-12mph are examples of moderate activities, whereas hiking, running at 6mph or faster, rapid cycling, football, basketball, or tennis are examples of intense activities.
The researchers discovered that when an individual’s activity level increases, so does the probability of dying from any disease prematurely.
The study looked at 11,989 adults, with a 50/50 gender split, who wore movement detecting devices on their hips for at least four days.
In total, 5,943 people sat for less than 10.5 hours per day, while 6,042 were sedentary for 10.5 hours or more.
The study discovered that 805 (6.7%) of the participants died during the course of five years. Furthermore, 353 of those who died had spent less than 10 and a half hours seated, whereas 448 had spent 10 and a half hours or more.
The investigators discovered that participants who sat for more than 12 hours a day had a 38% higher risk of death than those who sat for 8 hours.
Edvard Sagelv, an author from Norway’s Arctic University, emphasized the importance of physical activity.
“In our study, we discovered that only people who sat for more than 12 hours per day had a higher risk of death.” “We’re talking about any prolonged sitting behavior, such as working in an office or watching TV,” Sagelv explained.
“In our study, every minute of higher MVPA showed a lower risk of death, which means that even if people did less than 22 minutes (for example, 10 minutes), there was still a lower risk of death.” However, exercising 22 minutes removed the greater risk of death associated with idle time.
“This means that if you exercised for 22 minutes or more per day, there was no risk from sedentary time.” Furthermore, doing more than 22 minutes per day resulted with a lower overall risk of death. In general, the more the merrier.”
“This research supports previous findings that show the negative effects of long periods of sitting down and the positive impact of exercise,” Regina Giblin, a senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, stated.
“There are a few simple tips that can help you spend less time sitting.” Walking away from your computer screen at regular intervals, going for a walk, or preparing a healthy meal from scratch are all examples of methods to incorporate active time into your day.”
She went on to say that being physically active can help you control your weight, lower your blood pressure, and enhance your mental health.
The authors of the study also found that “Efforts to promote physical activity may have substantial health benefits for individuals and small amounts of MVPA may be an effective strategy to ameliorate mortality risk associated with high sedentary time” .
The new study appears to contradict previous research findings that moderate exercise did not eliminate the detrimental consequences of prolonged sitting.
A 2017 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine discovered that regular exercise lowered some of the risks linked with long periods of sitting but did not totally eliminate them.