This Is How Much Exercise You Need To Offset Sedentary Time

For this study, researchers wanted to assess the impact of sedentary time and exercise on mortality. As they write, “In western countries, adults spend an average of 9 to 10 hours per day being sedentary, mostly during working hours. As higher sedentary time is associated with higher risk of non-communicable diseases and mortality, preventive measures are important.”

So, they looked at data from just under 12,000 people ages 50 and up who wore physical activity trackers for at least two years. Participants also reported data about other health factors like their height, weight, current or previous diseases, etc.

Just over half of the participants were sedentary (AKA sitting down) for 10.5 or more hours every day, and those people also had an increased risk of death. Namely, the activity tracker data showed that being sedentary for 12+ hours a day was associated with a 38% higher risk of death, but just 22 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) offset that risk.

As the study authors explain, “Higher levels of MVPA were associated with lower mortality risk irrespective of the amounts of sedentary time. In contrast, higher sedentary time was only associated with mortality risk in participants with low levels of MVPA. Accumulating at least 22 min per day of MVPA eliminated the association between sedentary time and mortality.”

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