A recent study suggests that engaging in just 30 minutes of exercise a day can offset the risks associated with sitting for extended periods. The research demonstrates that any form of strenuous physical activity for 30 to 40 minutes daily can help mitigate the damage caused by prolonged sedentary behavior.
The study revealed that individuals who spend long hours sitting at a desk or on the couch are at a higher risk of early mortality. However, the risks can be significantly reduced if they incorporate intense exercise into their daily routines, such as cycling, brisk walking, or gardening. Remarkably, the risk level of active individuals who engage in moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity for 30 to 40 minutes is similar to those who have shorter sedentary periods.
Professor Ulf Ekelund from the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences explained that increased sedentary time is linked to a greater mortality rate in less active individuals. However, when active individuals incorporate moderate to vigorous exercise into their lives, the association between prolonged sedentary time and the risk of premature death becomes insignificant.
Q: How much physical activity should adults aim for according to the NHS?
A: According to the NHS, adults should engage in some form of physical activity each day, including strength training at least twice a week. They should strive for two-and-a-half hours of moderate intensity activity, such as brisk walking, per week.
Q: What does previous research reveal about sitting for long periods?
A: Previous research indicates that spending excessive time sitting raises the risk of heart attack and stroke, even in comparison to other levels of activity like sleeping or standing.
Q: How was the latest study conducted?
A: The study analyzed data from over 44,000 middle-aged and older adults who wore fitness trackers for a period ranging from 4 to 14.5 years. During the study, 3,451 participants experienced death. The data was used to examine the relationship between exercise, sedentary behavior, and mortality risk.
Q: How were participants divided in the study?
A: Participants were split into groups based on their average sedentary time, ranging from 8.5 to 10.5 hours a day. They were also categorized based on their average duration of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity, which ranged from eight minutes to 35 minutes per day.
Q: What were the findings of the study?
A: The study found that individuals who spent the most time sedentary had the highest risk of mortality. However, those who engaged in the most moderate-to-vigorous physical activity had a comparable risk to those who spent the least time sedentary. This suggests that physical activity and sedentary time can be combined differently to reduce the risk of premature death.