One hour at the gym per day can help you live longer
The adverse health effects of sitting for prolonged periods have been well known for some time (read more), but a paper published today in The Lancet found that one hour of exercise per day can undo the negative health implications of an otherwise sedentary lifestyle.
Taking in the results of 16 studies that involved over a million people, the research concluded that sitting for at least 8 hours per day increased the risk of premature death by as much as 60%. Physical inactivity is associated with more than five million deaths every year, not to mention the economic cost of unhealthy workers being off sick or the strain on health services to manage the repercussions.
"Our message is a positive one: it is possible to reduce or even eliminate these risks if we are active enough, even without having to take up sports or go to the gym."
Professor Ulf Ekelund, Lead Author
Move more and live longer
The recommendation of the authors is that one hour of physical activity per day, from cycling to running, to a full-on workout can counter-balance the damage. However, one hour per day is significantly more than the current World Health Organisation recommendation of 150 minutes of physical activity per week. So what can we do to move more and live longer? Here are 5 ideas:
- Pokémon Go! – You may scoff but the highly addictive augmented reality sensation provides a fun excuse to go for a wander. Just be careful to look where you’re walking or you could reduce your life expectancy pretty rapidly.
- Standing desk – Some can struggle to focus whilst standing up but for simple tasks it’s a good opportunity to get up. There should also be greater encouragement for businesses to adopt laptops over desktops as they promote greater mobility.
- No seats on the train – Public transport is often chockablock during rush hour, but why not turn this negative into a positive? The motion and instability can also provide a momentary chance to improve your balance.
- Skip the train all together – Walking or biking to work has numerous benefits. Not only can it save a fortune in travel costs but it also saves time by incorporating the workout into your day rather than having to make time for the spin class.
- Mingle – Sitting in bars is no good as you often find yourself trapped next to people you don’t want to talk to. Stand at the bar, mingle around and top it off by dancing the night away to stave off all that sitting badness.