We know that spending too much time sitting down is not good for us, but what sports are needed to combat the negative effects of sitting all day?
Research shows that about 30-40 minutes a day to build a sweat should do.
Up to 40 minutes of “intense physical activity” each day is equivalent to 10 hours of sitting, the study says – although any exercise or standing still helps to some extent.
This is based on a meta-analysis published in 2020 analyzing nine previous studies, involving 44,370 people in four different countries who wore a certain type of exercise.
The study found that the risk of death among sedentary people increased as the amount of time spent exercising decreased.
“In active people who do about 30-40 minutes of physical activity, the association between sedentary time and the risk of death is not significantly different from those who spend less time,” the researchers explained in their paper.
In other words, doing some of the most important things – cycling, walking briskly, gardening – can reduce the risk of premature death back to what it would be if you didn’t do all the sitting around, until now. a link can be seen in the collected data of thousands of people.
While a meta-analysis like this always requires joining the dots across different studies with different volunteers, time periods, and conditions, the benefit of this study is that it relied on data from clothing – not self-reported data. and participants.
At the time, the study was published alongside the release of the World Health Organization 2020 Global Guidelines on Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour, compiled by 40 scientists on six continents. The British Journal of Sports Medicine (BHSM) also released a special edition of the study with revised guidelines.
“As these guidelines emphasize, exercise is necessary and more is better than none,” said Emmanuel Stamatakis of the University of Sydney in Australia..
“People can still protect their health and eliminate the harmful effects of physical inactivity.”
Research based on physical activity is closely related to the WHO’s 2020 guidelines, which recommend 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise each week to avoid being sedentary.
Walking instead of climbing, playing with children and pets, doing yoga or dancing, doing housework, walking, and cycling are all prioritized as ways people can be active – and if you can’t manage 30-40 minutes at the same time, researchers say, start small.
Projecting ideas across all ages and body types is challenging, although the 40-minute duration of the event is consistent with previous research. As more information is published, we need to learn more about how to stay healthy even after spending long hours at a desk.
“Although these new guidelines reflect the best available science, there are gaps in our knowledge,” Stamatakis said.
“We don’t know for sure, for example, where exactly the bar of ‘being too much’ is. But this is an area of rapid research, and we hope to have answers in a few years.
The study was published here, and the 2020 guidelines are available here, in British Journal of Sports Medicine.
An earlier version of this article was first published in November 2020.