Vegging Out on Couch Worse than Sitting at Desk Job

Those with 9 to 5 desk jobs find it hard to get to gym or even find time to exercise in their busy schedules. It may not be causing as much damage to your health as spending weekends watching Netflix. The risk of death which is increased due to a sedentary lifestyle can be lowered by participating in enough physical activity.

There is not a magic number that everyone must aim for, but more a ratio based on the amount of sitting you do: 30 minutes of exercise for every four hours of sitting. These numbers come from a study of a million adults (aged over 45) in the U.S., Western Europe, and Australia. The results bring a reduction or elimination in heart disease, diabetes, and some cancer risks.

Physical inactivity is a global pandemic affecting most of the world and costing health systems $53.8 billion in 2013. Suggested goals for exercise range from 10,000 steps per day to 150 minutes per week to 30 minutes per day. This study recommends a higher minimum amount of exercise.

The hour of activity needed to make up for an 8-hour workday could be brisk walking or biking, but doesn’t have to be vigorous or all at once. Spread it out over the day. Intense exercise which increases your heart rate up to 90% of its maximum may help, yet it is unclear how high-intensity interval training compares to traditional activity.

Sitting for eight hours, mixed with exercise, may be better than less sitting with no activity. Doing just the bare minimum of exercise of 30 minutes a day is better than nothing. For office workers, at least an hour of moderate activity each day will offset the effects of long periods of sitting.

It was noted in the study that those watching more than five hours of TV each day had higher risks than those who watched less TV, regardless of amount of physical activity. This says that sitting watching TV may be worse than doing other tasks while sitting.

Cha, Ariana Eunjung. “A new formula for exercise? Study suggests 1 hour of activity per 8 hours of sitting.” To Your Health. The Washington Post, 28 Jul 2016. Web. 28 Jul 2016.

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