Study: 22 minutes of daily physical activity could be enough to counteract the effects of a sedentary lifestyle

PARIS, Nov 7 Working from home (WFH) has many advantages for employees, but it is not without health consequences.


Indeed, WFH does nothing to improve the sedentary lifestyle that has become a public health priority in many countries.

However, a new study finds that simple, accessible activities could limit the effects of prolonged sitting, starting with about 20 minutes of physical activity a day.

The global health recommendations are clear: adults aged 18 to 64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, as well as muscle-strengthening activities at least twice per week.


At least that’s the amount recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for adults to maintain good health.

At the same time, health authorities report that a third of women and a quarter of men worldwide do not devote enough time to this type of activity, which is nevertheless essential to limit the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. And this is becoming more and more of a challenge with the rise of remote work.

Based on the observation that an adult spends an average of 9 to 10 hours a day in a sitting position, at least in developed countries, a team of researchers led by scientists from UiT Arctic University in Norway decided to determine whether physical activity can reduce the risk of death associated with prolonged sitting.


And above all, they tried to establish a minimum duration of physical activity necessary to reverse the trend.

To do this, they analyzed data from 11,989 people aged at least 50, equipped with activity sensors, and drawn from four surveys, two conducted in Norway, one in Sweden and one in the US, between 2003 and 2019. then linked to the registers of the dead.

At least 22 minutes of physical activity

Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the study estimated that 5,943 participants spent less than 10.5 hours sitting per day, compared with 6,042 who spent more. The study found that 805 participants died, of whom 357 spent less than 10.5 hours sitting each day and 448 spent more than 10.5 hours sitting.

This was observed over an average monitoring period of 5 years. This data allowed the researchers to conclude that prolonged sitting, ie. more than 12 hours, is associated with a 38 percent increased risk of death, compared to sitting for 8 hours a day. But not for all participants, as moderate to vigorous physical activity of at least 22 minutes per day seems to help reverse this trend.

It seems that about 20 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day could be enough to balance the harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle. However, this is a minimum time, as the researchers point out that the longer the duration, the lower the risk of death.

For example, an extra 10 minutes a day is associated with a 15 percent lower risk of death among those who spend less than 10.5 hours sitting, and a 35 percent lower risk among those who spend more than 10.5 hours sedentary each day, the studies report. which accompany the press release.

Note that the duration of physical activity estimated by the Norwegian researchers corresponds to the average duration recommended by the WHO.

Take the stairs or walk

This is an observational study that does not establish a direct link between physical activity and a reduced risk of death in sedentary people, especially since certain factors, such as diet and general health, were not taken into account.

However, this does not prevent researchers from concluding that: small amounts of MVPA [moderate to vigorous physical activity] may be an effective strategy to improve mortality risk from a highly sedentary period, where accumulating more than 22 minutes of MVPA eliminates the risk of high sedentary time.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to run a marathon or engage in high-intensity exercise to combat the potential effects of a sedentary lifestyle. According to the WHO, physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure.

Physical activity refers to all movement, including during leisure time, for transport to and from places or as part of people’s work.

This can include walking, cycling, sports, active recreation and play, the global authority points out.

Simple activities to take on a daily basis include taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking or biking instead of driving on short trips, or getting off the subway, bus, or tram one stop earlier to increase your daily physical activity. . Studio ETX

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