A desk job could send you to an early grave, but replacing 30 minutes of sitting with any type of exercise reduces the risk of early death…

It’s true – spending hours every day on our butts has health risks.

However, a new study of 8 000 adults found that swapping a half-hour of sitting around with exercise of any intensity cut the risk of early death by as much as 35 percent.

“Our findings underscore an important public health message that physical activity of any intensity provides health benefits,” says Keith Diaz, PhD, assistant professor of behavioural medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and lead author of the paper.

How many hours do you spend sitting?

From the car to the office desk and then the couch at home, people spend more time sitting than ever before. In fact, about one in four adults spends more than eight hours a day sitting, according to a recent study.

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In a previous paper, Diaz and his team discovered that adults who sat for an hour or more without interruption had a greater risk of early death than those who were sedentary for the same total amount of time but got up and moved around more often.

So what can you do if you spend most of your day sitting?

Take movement breaks every 30 minutes

The research found that people who sat for less than 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk of early death. This suggests that taking movement breaks every half-hour could lower your risk of death.

But just how intense, and for how long, does the physical activity need to be to counter the ill effects of sitting?

The current study, participants wore activity monitors for at least four days to record the amount and intensity of physical activity they engaged in while awake.

The researchers tabulated the death rate among participants through 2017. Using this data, they estimated how substituting time spent sitting with time being physically active would affect risk of early death.

Don’t just sit there – beat the silent killers from sitting all day

Comparing low-intensity, moderate and high-intensity exercise

The study found that replacing just 30 minutes of sitting with low-intensity physical activity would lower the risk of early death by 17 percent, a statistically significant decrease.

Swapping the same amount of sitting for moderate to vigorous activity would be twice as effective, cutting the risk of early death by 35 percent.

The researchers also found that short bursts of activity – of just a minute or two – provided a health benefit.

“If you have a job or lifestyle that involves a lot of sitting, you can lower your risk of early death by moving more often, for as long as you want and as your ability allows – whether that means taking an hour-long high-intensity spin class or choosing lower-intensity activities, like walking,” Diaz says.

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Source: Columbia University Irving Medical Center via www.sciencedaily.com