Americans spend a lot of time sitting. Mostly because there are more and more sedentary “desk jobs” in today’s day and age…and fewer physically demanding farm and factory jobs.
I personally spend a lot of time sitting at my desk (or sometimes standing), doing what I love most to make a living—writing. But according to a new study, my sensible exercise routine, which I’ll talk about in a minute, actually offsets the negative health effects of prolonged sitting.
So, let’s dive right in…
Moderate exercise offsets prolonged sitting
For this new analysis, researchers followed 150,000 men and women in New South Wales, Australia. Participants completed a questionnaire at the beginning of the study, reporting daily sitting times, physical activity levels, and other factors.
Then, researchers put participants into one of five groups according to activity level:
- High activity (more than 420 minutes per week)
- Upper recommended (300 – 419 minutes per week)
- Lower recommended (150 – 299 minutes per week)
- Insufficient ( 1 – 149 minutes per week)
- None (0 minutes per week)
The researchers also grouped the participants into two sitting groups:
- High sitting time (6 or more hours per day)
- Low sitting time (less than 6 hours per day)
During a median follow-up period, there were almost 9,000 deaths, including almost 2,000 from heart disease.
Overall, researchers found that “high sitting time” was most common among people who got less than 150 minutes total per week of moderate physical activity. Plus, these men and women with high sitting time and low physical activity levels had an increased risk of all-cause mortality (death from any cause) and higher mortality from heart disease specifically.
But get this…
Participants with high sitting time who maintained just the “lower recommended” activity level substantially countered their risk against both all-cause mortality and heart disease morality.
Plus, people with high sitting time benefitted significantly from trading one hour of sitting for one hour of physical activity a week. And that’s any kind of physical activity—rigorous, moderate, or light—for as little as 21 minutes per day! And doing it every day wasn’t even found to be necessary!
According to the study’s lead researcher, Emmanuel Stamatakis, Ph.D., the key message is this: “Even meeting the lower physical activity recommendation seems to somehow offset the risks that come with sitting.” He continued, “We need to be replacing sitting with movement. Even walking may do the trick in the case of all-cause mortality.”
3 ways to reduce your risk if you spend lots of time sitting
I personally find this study very encouraging. It means there are at least three simple options to lower your all-cause and heart disease mortality risks, if you’re in the same boat as many Americans with desk jobs that require you to sit more than eight hours a day…
1.) Get some moderate physical activity at minimal recommended amounts (as little as 150 minutes per week). Think gardening, hiking, swimming, or walking…
2.) Reduce your sitting time significantly to 4 hours or less, without adding light, moderate, or rigorous physical activity.
3.) Increase physical activity of any kind to minimal recommended levels (at least 150 minutes per week) and reduce sitting time from more than 8 hours per day.
And I should note, this is yet another study that proves there’s no need to engage in excessive exercise, or what I call “excess-ercise,” to improve your health.
Remember, I always recommend getting your exercise outside in Nature whenever you can. And the fall it just about my favorite time of year to be outside—with the cooler temperatures, crisp air, and beautiful colors. It’s also a great time of year to start a new routine…so, what are you waiting for? Get up, and get moving!
P.S. For a comprehensive, all-natural approach to ultimate heart health, I recommend my Heart Attack Prevention & Repair Protocol. This innovative online learning tool helps protect your heart without any dangerous heart medications. To learn more, or to enroll today, simply click here!
“Sitting Time, Physical Activity, and Risk of Mortality in Adults.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2019; 73(16). https://doi.org.10.1016/j.jacc.2019.02.031
“How Much Physical Activity Offsets the Bad From Prolonged Sitting?” Medscape, April 23, 2019. (medscape.com/viewarticle/912102#vp_1)