Exercise Could Eliminate Health Risks Associated with Sedentary Behaviors

Moderate physical activity associated with decreased mortality risk among patients who sat for 8 hours per day.

Researchers recently found that the health risks associated with 8 hours of sitting per day can potentially be offset by 1 hour of moderate activity.

The study, published by The Lancet, analyzed more than 1 million patients included in 16 studies to determine whether or not physical activity can reduce health risks linked to sedentary behavior. The health risks include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

The researchers grouped patients into 4 groups based on their daily moderate-intensity exercise. Patients who sat 8 hours per day and were physically active had a lower risk of mortality than patients who sat for 8 hours and were not physically active.

Researchers found that patients who did not engage in physical activity were 28% to 59% more likely to die early compared with patients who participated in physical activity. Only 25% of participants were physically active for 1 or more hours per day.

Researchers also found that physical inactivity cost the world approximately $67 billion in 2013, and this amount will only increase if physical activity does not increase.

“For many people who commute to work and have office-based jobs, there is no way to escape sitting for prolonged periods of time. For these people in particular, we cannot stress enough the importance of getting exercise, whether it's getting out for a walk at lunchtime, going for a run in the morning or cycling to work,” concluded researcher Ulf Ekelund. “An hour of physical activity per day is the ideal, but if this is unmanageable, then at least doing some exercise each day can help reduce the risk.”