People who spend much of their day may have to move less than we thought to counteract their sedentary lifestyle, new research shows.
Our research, published Monday, April 22 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found about 20-40 minutes of physical activity one day seems to eliminate most health risks associated with sitting.
It is significantly lower than the one hour a day a previous study found.
We spend almost all our waking day to sit, stand or move. The health impact of each of these can be complex.
For example, too much standing can lead to lower back problems and even a higher risk of heart disease. But sitting too long and not moving enough can harm our health.
While we are moving is better than sitting, what is far less clear how much of a good thing (moving) can compensate for a bad thing (sitting).
That's what we wanted to find out in our study of nearly 150,000 Australian middle-aged and older adults.
We followed people enrolled in the 45 and up study for almost nine years. We looked at the correlation between meeting and physical activity with deaths from any cause and death from cardiovascular disease such as heart disease and stroke over that time. We then assessed what level of moderate to strong physical activity could offset the health risk of sitting.
This kind of activity is strenuous enough to get you at least some breathing if it is maintained for a few minutes.
What we found
People who had no physical activity and sat for more than eight hours a day had more than twice (107%) the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to people who had at least one hours of physical activity and sat less than four hours a day (the "optimal group").
But it was not enough just to sit less. People who did less than 150 minutes of physical activity a week and sat less than four hours a day still had a 44-60% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than the optimal group.
We have also calculated the effect of replacing an hour of sitting with standing, walking and moderate and powerful physical activity.
Among people who sit a lot (more than six hours a day) replacing an hour's meeting with equal amounts of moderate physical activity such as strenuous gardening and housework, but not standing, was associated with a 20% reduction in dying from the heart. vascular diseases.
The replacement of an hour's meeting with an hour of energetic activity such as swimming, aerobics and tennis, the benefits were much greater with a 64% reduction in the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
What does it all mean
The great news for people who sit a lot, including sedentary office workers, is that the amount of physical activity needed to compensate for the health risk of putting risks was significantly lower than the one hour a day, as a previous study found.
Even about 20-40 minutes of physical activity a day – that is, meeting the physical activity guidelines of 150 to 300 minutes per week – seemed to eliminate most of the risks associated with sitting.
For people who sat a lot, it was better to replace sitting with strong physical activity than replacing it with moderate activity; and replacing sitting with moderate activity or walking was better than replacing it with standing.
What is the home modest?
Our study supports the idea of sitting and exercise are two sides of the same health "coin". Other words, enough physical activity can compensate for the health risk of sitting.
Should we worry about sitting too much? Yes, because the meeting takes valuable time, we can use to move. So much sitting is an important part of the physical inactivity problem.
We also know only that a minority of adults get enough physical activity to offset the risk of sitting.
For those who sit a lot, it would be a good start to find ways to reduce sitting, but that is not enough. The most important lifestyle change would be to seek or create opportunities to include physical activity in our daily routine whenever possible.
How to expand our activities & # 39; menu & # 39;
Not everyone has a supportive environment and the ability to create opportunities to be active. For example, lack of time and physical activity that is low on people's list of priorities is the main reason why inactive adults do not exercise. Many also do not have the motivation to power through a strenuous exercise when they juggle many other life challenges.
There are no known remedies for lack of time or low motivation. So maybe we need to add new approaches besides exercising and playing sports for leisure, to the physical activities menu.
Physical activity present as active transport – Think fast or bike ride or all the way to work – or stairs are good ways to stay or become active without taking much extra time.
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