One hour of exercise each day eliminates the health toll of sitting. The activity patterns of over one million people show how valuable just one hour of exercise is each day in toning down the risks posed by sedentary behaviour.

Inactivity is a major health risk factor. It generally involves prolonged periods of sitting where people can spend many hours each day with little movement of the major limbs.

Whether this is driving or working on a computer, the health detriment is the same – early death. Estimates suggest the at least five million avoidable deaths are attributable to inactivity.

Despite the many benefits of exercise, few people meet the recommendations of at least 60 minutes per day.

Data compiled on the health of over a million people highlight that making this recommendation is a lifesaver. Irrespective of the inactivity throughout the day, people who meet the recommendations of at least one hour of exercise each day cut the risks of early death by at least 40% compared to people who are active for less than 30 minutes per day.

The surprising finding of this is that the type of exercise hardly matters. All movement is good movement.

Implications

Achieving one hour of movement each day, including periods of standing, eliminates the risk of early death from inactivity. If you sit for hours each day, whether it’s on the couch, at the wheel or in front of a screen, now is the time to start moving. It could be a lifesaver.

Last Reviewed: 18/10/2019

© Norman Swan Medical Communications.



References

Ekelund U at al. Does physical activity attenuate, or even eliminate, the detrimental association of sitting time with mortality? A harmonised meta-analysis of data from more than 1 million men and women. The Lancet Epub online July 27, 2016. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30370-1.