15 minutes of activity offsets a full day of sitting at work

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 4 months ago

A new study involving nearly half a million people has found that individuals who sit for long periods of time at work are at a higher risk of death, especially from cardiovascular disease, compared to those who are more active throughout the day. However, the study also found that moving intermittently, even for as little as 15 minutes throughout the day, can mitigate this risk, as can regular exercise.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, used data from a biannual health checkup program in Taiwan between 1996 and 2017. Participants were categorized based on their occupational sitting volume, with the "mostly sitting" category having the highest risk of death and cardiovascular disease.

After controlling for factors such as BMI, smoking, drinking, sex, and age, the study found that individuals in the "mostly sitting" category had a 16% increased risk of death and a 34% increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared to those in the "mostly nonsitting" group.

Interestingly, the middle group of intermittent sitters did not demonstrate an increased risk of death when compared to the most active group. This suggests that regular movement throughout the day can help counteract the negative effects of prolonged sitting.

Exercise was also found to offset the risks posed by extended periods of sitting. Engaging in 15-30 minutes of leisure time physical activity per day was enough to offset the health risks of the "mostly sitting" group, according to the study.

These findings highlight the need to reduce prolonged sitting in the workplace and increase daily physical activity to mitigate the elevated risks of mortality associated with sitting, according to Dr. Wayne Gao, the first author of the research.

Sitting too much and engaging in sedentary behavior has been linked to increased risks of early death, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and mental health issues. The World Health Organization has included recommendations on sedentary behavior in its physical activity guidelines, emphasizing the importance of limiting the amount of time spent sitting and incorporating exercise.

To combat prolonged sitting at work, the study authors suggest incorporating regular breaks, introducing standing desks, providing designated workplace areas for physical activity, and offering gym membership benefits. Individuals can also take simple steps to be more active, such as taking regular breaks to move around, engaging in light physical activity during set break periods, and finding opportunities to be more active during free time.

While sitting less may be challenging for some, finding ways to incorporate movement throughout the day can have significant health benefits and help reduce the risks associated with sedentary behavior.


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