British are physically strong people

09.05.2019 14:54

Get out of the office chair: Even short sports sessions can extend the life of office workers

Sabine Ranke-Heinemann Press office
Australian-New Zealand University Association / Institute Ranke-Heinemann

A new study from the University of Sydney looked at whether physical activity could offset the health risks of sitting too long. The answer, which is likely to reassure many office workers worldwide, is: Yes - just 20-40 minutes of moderate to intensive exercise a day are enough to reduce or even eliminate the risks. Even the biggest grumpy athletes should be able to do that.

Sitting is often referred to as "the new smoking," but it is unclear whether sitting or lack of exercise is causing the harm. For a long time it was also unclear what level of moderate to vigorous physical activity - from routine activities such as brisk walking to work to exercise and targeted exercise - could compensate for this risk.

A new study has now examined the relationship between long periods of sitting and premature death, as well as cardiovascular disease, and estimated what level of moderate to vigorous physical activity could offset the health risk of sitting.

The scientists created a statistical model in which they compared the physical activity of almost 150,000 study participants aged 45 and over with the data in the death register over a period of more than nine years.

The core message of the study is that physical activity is especially important for people who sit a lot. Sitting less is a good start, but it is not enough: for those people it is particularly important to integrate some form of movement into their everyday life.

Replacing sitting with physical activity - but not standing - reduces the risk of death in people who sit more than six hours a day, according to the study's lead author, Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis of the Charles Perkins Center and the School's Prevention Research Collaboration of Public Health from the University of Sydney.

"In our study, the time spent sitting in the least physically active groups was consistent with overall premature mortality as well as with fatal cardiovascular disease - that is, in those people who did less than 150 minutes of moderate to high-intensity physical activity exercise per week, says Professor Stamatakis.

"For example, people who were physically inactive and sat for more than eight hours a day had a 107 percent higher risk of cardiovascular death than those who did physical activity for at least an hour a day and sat for less than four hours."

An hour of physical activity a day is not necessary.

"Adhering to the Australian health authorities' recommendation of 150 to 300 minutes a week - an average of around 20-40 minutes a day - seems to eliminate the health risk of sitting," said Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis.

The study was published in the leading cardiology publication, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and carried out by the University of Sydney in collaboration with the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and Loughborough University in the UK .

Physical activity units that correspond to the current recommendations of at least 150 minutes of medium intensity or 75 minutes of high intensity can therefore reduce or even completely eliminate the influence of sitting on the cardiovascular and general mortality risk.

Professor Stamatakis emphasizes that the results can be useful for health professionals and health workers as well as for people who sit a lot, such as office workers and others who do a sedentary job.

"Any form of exercise is good for your health, but moderate to high-intensity physical activity - an activity that gets people out of breath - is the most effective and time-efficient," says Professor Stamatakis.

"Exercise and gymnastics can increase activity, but they're not the only option - walking fast, climbing stairs, and biking to get from place to place are just a few of the many ways everyday life offers to get exercise and sometimes." even getting a little out of breath. "

Additional Information:

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The University of Sydney
Annika Dean
Email: annika.dean (at)
Tel .: +61 28 627 0246

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