Just 1 hour of exercise offsets health risks of prolonged sitting


A typical day for many people includes at least 8 hours of sitting – driving to work, sitting in an office, driving home, and watching TV. An international study of over 1 million people shows that 1 hour of moderate physical activity can eliminate the health risks associated with sedentary behavior.
[Woman running in the park with a dog] Getting out for a walk at lunchtime, going for a run in the morning, cycling to work, or even walking the dog for an hour can eliminate the health risks of prolonged sitting. The study forms the first part of a four-paper series published by The Lancet that provides an overview and update of worldwide trends of physical activity and the global impact of physical inactivity.
The first series observing physical activity was released in 2012 ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. The study authors caution that there has been little progress in tackling the global pandemic of physical activity since the 2012 Olympics, with a quarter of adults worldwide failing to meet physical activity recommendations.
In the analysis, the researchers posed the question: Does exercise reduce or eradicate the harmful effects – including increased risk of early death – that are associated with prolonged sitting? Health risks that are linked to physical inactivity include an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers, with recent estimates suggesting that more than 5 million people die each year globally due to failing to meet daily activity levels. Total worldwide cost of physical inactivity at least $67.5 billion Findings from the second part of the series – a world-first study to estimate the economic burden of physical inactivity worldwide – shows that globally in healthcare expenditure and lost productivity, physical inactivity cost the world $67 billion in 2013. “Physical inactivity is recognized as a global pandemic that not only leads to diseases and early deaths, but imposes a major burden to the economy,” says Dr. Melody Ding, senior research fellow at The University of Sydney’s School of Public Health, Australia. Dr. Ding notes that if no action is taken to improve population levels of physical inactivity, the economic burden of physical inactivity is projected to increase globally, predominantly in low- and middle-income countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that adults aged 18-64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week.
In the first paper of the series, the researchers analyzed 16 studies, which included data from over 1 million people. The team formed four groups of individuals based on their level of moderate-intensity exercise, ranging from 5-75 minutes per day.

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