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Combatting sedentary lifestyle: Experts' exercise guide

Combatting sedentary lifestyle: Experts' exercise guide Illustrative photo (Photo: Freepik)
Author: Daria Shekina

To offset the adverse effects of prolonged sitting, it's crucial to engage in regular physical exercises. Science Alert explains how much exercise is needed to counteract a sedentary workday.

Counteracting a sedentary workday: How much exercise is needed?

Many studies indicate that to counter the effects of a sedentary workday, a daily workout of intense activity for at least 30-40 minutes is necessary, with exercises leading to perspiration.

Engaging in up to 40 minutes of moderate to high-intensity physical activity every day balances out 10 hours of sitting. However, any amount of exercise or even just standing and moving is beneficial.

This research, based on a meta-analysis published in 2020, involved studying previous research encompassing about 45,000 individuals across four countries who used fitness trackers.

The analysis revealed that the risk of death among people leading sedentary lifestyles increases as the time spent on moderate to high-intensity physical activity decreases.

"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," according to the scientists.

In other words, participating in certain moderately intense activities like cycling, brisk walking, or gardening can reduce the risk of premature death to levels comparable to those who engage in a half-hour of daily exercise while otherwise being sedentary.

"As these guidelines emphasize, all physical activity counts and any amount of it is better than none. People can still protect their health and offset the harmful effects of physical inactivity," emphasized Emmanuel Stamatakis, a researcher in physical activity and population health at the University of Sydney.

Overall, the fitness tracker-based study aligns with the WHO's 2020 recommendations, suggesting 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous physical activity weekly to combat sedentary behavior.

Taking stairs instead of the elevator, playing with children or pets, practicing yoga or dancing, doing household chores, walking, and cycling are all considered ways people can be more active.

The researchers note that if dedicating 35-40 minutes at once is challenging, starting with smaller increments is beneficial.

Previously, we discussed evening routines that aid weight loss and also identified the most dangerous and harmful home exercise according to a physician