Some of the most compelling research has just been published in The Lancet, indicating that the risk of premature death increases among desk-based workers who sit for eight hours a day and do low amounts of exercise.
One hour of moderate activity is needed to offset the harmful effects of sitting at a desk
The Guardian reports that “At least an hour of physical activity a day may be required to offset the harmful effects of sitting at a desk for eight hours, according to the latest study to highlight the perils of a sedentary lifestyle."
Continuing its coverage in The Guardian they mention “The World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline, adopted by Public Health England, recommends 150 minutes of exercise a week but research, based on data from more than one million people, suggests that is insufficient for many.”
“Lead author Prof Ulf Ekelund, from the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences and Cambridge University, said: “You don’t need to do sport, you don’t need to go to the gym. It’s OK doing some brisk walking, maybe in the morning, during lunchtime, after dinner in the evening. You can split it up over the day, but you need to do at least one hour.”
The research paper, published in The Lancet, analysed data from 16 previous studies, mainly involving people aged over 45 from the USA, western Europe and Australia. The authors found that one hour of “moderate intensity” exercise, such as walking at 5.6 km/h or cycling for pleasure at 16 km/h, was enough to offset the ill effects of sitting for long periods.”
It has long been acknowledged by health and sports science that being inactive is known to increase your risk of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. So it is not surprising that sitting at work for eight hours, with little or no offset physical activity, will contribute to this.
At Activ8rlives we advocate trying to incorporate bursts of physical activity in and around your daily routine so that you manage to do 10,000 steps by the end of the day. This roughly equates to about 60 minutes of moderate walking.
It’s mid-afternoon and I’ve completed just 7,000 of my daily target of steps with an early morning dog walk, but I’ll still need to insert into the remainder of my day some more walking time and the carpets look like they need a vacuum.
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