- Researchers have determined that 30-40 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day can offset the negative effects of sitting for as much as 10 hours.
- The World Health Organization released new guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behavior with activity recommendations for a healthy life.
- The new studies might come in handy during the novel coronavirus pandemic, as we are all forced to spend more time indoors.
The novel coronavirus has forced many people to spend more time at home to reduce the risk of contracting the virus. All that time spent at home might reduce the chance of infection, but working and studying from home poses an additional risk to one’s health. The more sitting one does while working from home during the pandemic, the worse it is for one’s overall health. And the longer the pandemic lasts, the more sedentary we’ll be.
Thankfully, there are ways to mitigate the reduction of physical activity. You can still go out for runs or walks, and there are plenty of programs that help you exercise at home. And now researchers know exactly how you need to much work out each day to offset all the sitting that you do.
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A new study says that 30-40 minutes of “moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity” can balance out as many as 10 hours of sitting still. The researchers used data from nine previous studies that included 44,370 people from four different countries. The key detail about these volunteers is that all of them were wearing some form of fitness tracker. That way, the analysis provided more objective conclusions about the kind of physical activity those people were engaged in, rather than self-reported data about physical activity.
“In active individuals doing about 30-40 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity, the association between high sedentary time and risk of death is not significantly different from those with low amounts of sedentary time,” the researchers wrote in the published paper, via Science Alert.
The actual physical activity doesn’t have to be a sustained effort like in the gym. Small things like walking up the stairs instead of taking an elevator, doing household chores, gardening, and playing with children or your pets also qualify. Even standing up often can help.
The British Journal of Sports Medicine (BHSM) released a special edition that includes the new World Health Organization 2020 Global Guidelines on Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior as well as the study looking into the amount of minimum physical activity that can offset a sedentary lifestyle.
The WHO recommends 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity every week to counteract the negative effects of sitting.
“These guidelines are very timely, given that we are in the middle of a global pandemic, which has confined people indoors for long periods and encouraged an increase in sedentary behavior,” said Emmanuel Stamatakis, co-editor of the BJSM. “People can still protect their health and offset the harmful effects of physical inactivity. As these guidelines emphasize, all physical activity counts and any amount of it is better than none.”
While the study and new WHO guidelines weren’t made for the coronavirus pandemic, they certainly arrive at a useful time. Vaccines might be coming soon, but it’ll be another year until the world can return to normal.