30 Minutes' Exercise Won't Counteract Sitting All Day... What Can?

 30 Minutes' Exercise Won't Counteract Sitting All Day And What Can The more you sit, the more movement you need. BAZA Production/ Shutterstock

It’s recommended we do at least 30 minutes of exercise a day – or 150 minutes a week – to stay healthy. But 30 minutes accounts for just 2% of the day. And many of us spend most of the rest of the time sitting.

Research shows that sitting can be bad for our health in many ways – with some even suggesting it’s as bad for us as smoking. And our new study has revealed that 30 minutes of daily exercise is not enough to overcome the health risks of sitting too much. But we also revealed that with the right balance of time spent exercising and moving, it may be possible to counteract the negatives of sitting.

We combined data from six different studies from the UK, US and Sweden, looking at a total of over 130,000 adults. Each of the studies used a physical activity monitor (like a Fitbit) to measure a person’s movements and sitting time throughout the day. Each study then followed the participants for an average of four to 14 years to track whether any participants died.

As expected, we found that 30 minutes of daily exercise decreased the risk of early death by up to 80% for those who also spent less than seven hours a day sitting. But it didn’t have the same effect for people who spent between 11 and 12 hours a day sitting. In other words, it’s not as simple as checking off the exercise box on the to-do list. A healthy lifestyle requires more than 30 minutes of exercise if you spend a lot of time sitting.

For those who sat a lot, 30 minutes of daily exercise would only lower risk of early death by 30% if combined with four to five hours of light movement a day (such as shopping, cooking, or yard work) – spending less than 11 hours sitting total. We can think of this mixture of light activity, exercise and sitting as a “cocktail”. And when it comes to living an active lifestyle, there are different recipes you can choose to to get the same benefits.

For example, one person might exercise daily for 30 minutes, move throughout the day for about six hours doing activities like housework or walking to work, but spend around ten hours a day sitting. They would have the same risk of death as someone who exercised 55 minutes daily, moved throughout the day for about four hours, and sat for about 11 hours. In other words, different combinations of exercise and movement can be used to offset the harms of sitting.

Personalised recommendations

Our findings provide new insights on what constitutes a healthy and active lifestyle. For decades, scientists have studied the health benefits of exercise – but this research has largely ignored the fact that how you spend the rest of the day also matters. Instead of the recommendation that everyone should strive to achieve 30 minutes of daily exercise, our results show physical activity recommendations can been more personalised. People can adopt a mixture of activity that works best for them.

30 Minutes' Exercise Won't Counteract Sitting All Day And What CanGardening and yard work are easy ways to get more light activity into your day. Rido/ Shutterstock

For many of us, our jobs require us to sit for eight hours or more a day. But when you get home, exercising for one hour and doing light activities for a few hours in the evening (such as housework or yard work) could still yield health benefits. If you’re a stay-at-home parent who’s typically too busy to get to the gym, moving around throughout the day while doing essential tasks (such as playing with the kids or putting away groceries) can also improve your health.

The caveat, however, is that our study found that six minutes of light activity was equivalent to one minute of moderate to intense exercise. So you would need to do three hours of light activity to yield the same benefit as 30 minutes of exercise.

While our study adds important new insights about the ideal balance of movement, we are missing one ingredient: sleep. It’s unclear if the health benefits of exercise and movement are the same if you don’t get enough sleep. As well, key questions on how to spend your day – like whether you should wake up 30 minutes earlier to exercise – still need to be studied.

Ultimately, our findings show that a healthy and active lifestyle is more than just exercising for 30 minutes, and that there are many different ways of achieving better health and longevity. While exercise still provides the best “bang for your buck” in terms of the amount of time required, our findings are still good news for people who may not have the time, ability or desire to exercise. The road to an active lifestyle is more accessible and achievable than we thought – and is not just for gym regulars.The Conversation

About The Authors

Sebastien Chastin, Professor Health Behaviour Dynamics of People, Places and Systems, Glasgow Caledonian University and Keith Diaz, Assistant Professor of Behavioral Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

 


 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

You May Also Like

INNERSELF VOICES

full moon over Stonehenge
Horoscope Current Week: September 20 - 26, 2021
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
a swimmer in large expanse of water
Joy and Resilience: A Conscious Antidote to Stress
by Nancy Windheart
We know that we're in a great time of transition, of birthing a new way of being, living, and…
five closed doors, one pained yellow, the others white
Where Do We Go From Here?
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
Life can be confusing. There are so many things going on, so many choices presented to us. Even a…
Inspiration or Motivation: Which Works Best?
Inspiration or Motivation: Which Comes First?
by Alan Cohen
People who are enthusiastic about a goal find ways to achieve it and they do not need to be goaded…
photo silhouette of mountain climber using a pick to secure himself
Allow The Fear, Transform It, Move Through It, and Understand It
by Lawrence Doochin
Fear feels crappy. There is no way around that. But most of us don't respond to our fear in a…
woman sitting at her desk looking worried
My Prescription for Anxiety and Worry
by Jude Bijou
We’re a society that likes to worry. Worrying is so prevalent, it almost feels socially acceptable.…
curving road in New Zealand
Don't Be So Hard On Yourself
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
Life consists of choices... some are "good" choices, and others not so good. However every choice…
man standing on a dock shining a flashlight into the sky
Blessing for Spiritual Seekers and for People Suffering from Depression
by Pierre Pradervand
There is such a need in the world today of the most tender and immense compassion and deeper, more…
Helping You Remember: You Are Innately Wise and Magnificent
Helping You Remember That You Are Innately Wise and Magnificent
by Alan Cohen
Many advertisements tell us that we are stupid or broken and need intelligence or fixing. How…
Spiritual Activism and Service: A Deep Dimension of Planetary Healing
Spiritual Activism and Service: A Deep Dimension of Planetary Healing
by Pierre Pradervand
I believe there is no authentic spirituality where there is no healing of one’s community and of…
Getting the Upper Hand Over Impatience
Getting the Upper Hand Over Impatience
by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.
Are you thrown off by unforeseen complications? Are you frantic to meet deadlines or goals? Do you…

MOST READ

How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
by Jackie Cassell, Professor of Primary Care Epidemiology, Honorary Consultant in Public Health, Brighton and Sussex Medical School
The precarious economies of many traditional seaside towns have declined still further since the…
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
by Barbara Berger
One of the biggest things I've discovered working with clients everyday is how extremely difficult…
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
by Sonja Grace
As you experience being an earth angel, you will discover that the path of service is riddled with…
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
by Susan Campbell, Ph.D.
According to most of the singles I have met in my travels, the typical dating situation is fraught…
What Men’s Roles In 1970s Anti-sexism Campaigns Can Teach Us About Consent
What Men’s Roles In 1970s Anti-sexism Campaigns Can Teach Us About Consent
by Lucy Delap, University of Cambridge
The 1970s anti-sexist men’s movement had an infrastructure of magazines, conferences, men’s centres…
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
by Glen Park
Flamenco dancing is a delight to watch. A good flamenco dancer exudes an exuberant self-confidence…
Taking A Step Toward Peace by Changing Our Relationship With Thought
Stepping Toward Peace by Changing Our Relationship With Thought
by John Ptacek
We spend our lives immersed in a flood of thoughts, unaware that another dimension of consciousness…
image of the planet Jupiter on the skyline of a rocky ocean shore
Is Jupiter a Planet of Hope or a Planet of Discontent?
by Steven Forrest and Jeffrey Wolf Green
In the American dream as it's currently dished up, we try to do two things: make money and lose…

follow InnerSelf on

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconinstagram iconpintrest iconrss icon

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

AVAILABLE LANGUAGES

enafarzh-CNzh-TWdanltlfifrdeeliwhihuiditjakomsnofaplptroruesswsvthtrukurvi

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.