It shouldn’t be news to anybody that sitting for long periods is bad for your health. Unfortunately, if you have a job that requires you to be at a desk or computer for long hours, sitting is hard to avoid. But the question remains–how much exercise do you need to counteract the effects of sitting?
It may be less than you thought!
A new study looked at the activity levels of more than 44,000 middle-aged and older men and women. On average, people spent almost 10 hours per day sedentary and only 16 minutes per day doing moderate-to-vigorous activity. Yikes!
“As little as 11 minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous activity was enough to offset the risk of being sedentary for as many as 8.5 hours per day”.
Not surprisingly, the people who were the most sedentary and the least active were the most likely to die prematurely. What might surprise you was this:
As little as 11 minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous activity was enough to offset the risk of being sedentary for as many as 8.5 hours per day.
Those who sat for longer than 8.5 hours per day needed more exercise to combat the risk, but even those who sat the longest could balance out their risk with 30-40 minutes of daily exercise.
Movement should be a part of your everyday routine. Put down the phone. Tie up your shoes. And get out the door.
Here are some fun ways to squeeze exercise into your day:
- Wake up 15 minutes early and try a 10 minute workout video to get your muscles moving and your heart rate up
- Do simple exercises while sitting such as let raises, Arm lifts (place hands on chair arms and raise body off chair), stretching, jumping jacks, chair grips and leg squats
- Take a mid-day walk to relax and unwind
- Treat exercise as if it is part of your job
What’s your favorite way to get moving?
Ekelund U, Tarp J, Fagerland MW et al. Joint associations of accelero-meter measured physical activity and sedentary time with all-cause mortality: a harmonised meta-analysis in more than 44 000 middle-aged and older individuals. Br J Sports Med. 2020; 54: 1499-1506. https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/54/24/1499