One-hour workout can undo effects of prolonged sitting

 
By Doug Bennett • Published: October 19th, 2016
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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The health risks of a sedentary lifestyle are well-documented. Now, undoing those effects might be easier than you thought.

Just one hour a day of moderate physical activity can reduce the health risks that come with prolonged sitting. Findings published recently by European researchers show that people who spend eight hours sitting but are also active have a significantly lower risk of dying than those who are inactive. The findings are based on an analysis of 16 scientific studies, which included data from more than 1 million people.

The difference that regular activity can make is remarkable: The researchers found that inactive people were 28 to 59 percent more likely to die early compared with the people who were the most active. That means inactivity brings an increased risk of early death that is similar in magnitude to two better-known threats — smoking and obesity.

The study, published in the journal The Lancet, also found a relationship between television watching and mortality risk. Data involving approximately half a million people showed that those who watched television for three or more hours a day had an increased risk of death that was only offset among the most active. The television-viewing habits, researchers said, may be an indicator of a more generally unhealthy lifestyle.

The researchers found that 60 to 75 minutes of moderate-intensity activity was enough to offset the effects of a sedentary day. Still, only about 25 percent of the people involved with the study hit that benchmark. The study’s authors said the findings are a call to action for governments, schools and individuals about the dangers of an inactive life. Sitting may be part of our routine, but we can still find that hour a day to get up and move.

Sloth is one of the seven deadly sins, but it doesn’t have to kill you.