A sedentary lifestyle has become increasingly prevalent in developed nations, with adults spending roughly 9 to 10 hours each day sitting, particularly during working hours.
This extended period of inactivity is associated with an elevated risk of premature death. However, new research suggests that as little as 20 to 25 minutes of daily physical activity may help counteract this risk.
Pooling Individual Data for Precise Insights
To explore the relationship between physical activity, sedentary behavior, and mortality risk more precisely, researchers gathered individual participant data from four different studies conducted between 2003 and 2019.
These studies involved over 12,000 participants aged 50 and above who wore activity trackers for at least two years and provided information on various influencing factors such as age, gender, education level, weight, smoking history, alcohol consumption, and underlying health conditions.
The Impact of Sedentary Time
Analysis of the data revealed that individuals who spent more than 12 hours a day being sedentary faced a 38% higher risk of death compared to those who spent only 8 hours a day sedentary.
However, this heightened risk was primarily observed among individuals who engaged in fewer than 22 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day.
The study also found that engaging in over 22 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day lowered the risk of death.
Additionally, even in highly sedentary individuals (those spending 12 or more hours per day sitting), light-intensity physical activity was associated with a lower risk of death.
While increasing the amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity was linked to a reduced risk of death, the impact of sedentary time on mortality was largely influenced by the level of physical activity.
For instance, adding just 10 minutes of physical activity per day led to a 15% lower risk of death in those with fewer than 10.5 hours of daily sedentary time and a 35% lower risk in those with more than 10.5 hours of daily sedentary time.
It’s essential to note that this research is observational and cannot establish a cause-and-effect relationship. Additionally, the study did not account for factors like diet, mobility limitations, or overall health.
Furthermore, activity trackers may not accurately classify all types of physical activity and their corresponding intensity.
Promoting Physical Activity for Better Health
In conclusion, this study highlights the potential benefits of incorporating even small amounts of moderate to vigorous physical activity into one’s daily routine.
It suggests that as little as 20 to 25 minutes of daily exercise may help offset the health risks associated with prolonged periods of sitting.
Encouraging physical activity may have substantial health advantages for individuals, emphasizing the importance of staying active to maintain overall well-being.
If you care about wellness, please read studies about how ultra-processed foods and red meat influence your longevity, and why seafood may boost healthy aging.
For more information about wellness, please see recent studies that olive oil may help you live longer, and vitamin D could help lower the risk of autoimmune diseases.
The research findings can be found in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
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