An important new research project reinforces the key role that moderate intensity exercise plays in life expectancy.
According to a study from the University of Cambridge, “The health risks associated with sitting for eight or more hours a day can be eliminated with an hour or more of moderate intensity physical activity, each day.”
In high-income countries such as Australia, adults now spend the majority of their waking hours sitting down. A typical day for many working people is: driving to work, sitting in an office, driving home and watching TV.
The international researchers analyzed 16 studies, which included data from more than one million men and women, drawn from Europe, Australia and the USA, and all aged over 45 years.
They found that between 60 and 75 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per day was sufficient to eliminate the increased risk of early death associated with sitting for over eight hours per day. [Moderate intensity activity would be walking at 5km/hour or cycling at 17 km/hour, for example].
However, as many as 75% of the people in the study failed to reach this level of daily activity.
You can read the full article here.
So what can we do to change this ratio and help ourselves to a longer, healthier life?
First, the takeout message from this research is – how long you sit is not the key driver. If you squeeze in just 60 to 75 minutes of moderate activity, then you can reverse the bad effects of the rest of the day.
Second, the exercise does not have to be in one block. If you are busily employed, instead of:
- Eating at your desk – go for a brisk walk at lunch time; clock up 30 minutes
- Phoning or emailing colleagues in your building – take a walk to speak to them in person, and take the stairs as you go; you could easily add another 15 minutes
- Before you relax in front of the TV of an evening – just another 15 to 30 minutes of brisk exercise and you're there!
Third, for the retirees among us, the issue is not necessarily one of time. If you are fit and healthy and leading an active life in retirement, then you just need to make sure that some of this activity is of moderate intensity. Swing your arms as you walk, take longer strides and gradually build up your speed.
Finally, if pain is preventing you from exercising moderately, then you will first need to manage that pain. The ActivBody TENS machine is Australia’s first choice for drug-free TENS pain relief therapy. When your pain is being managed, start moving again. Keep it up every day and you will be amazed at how good it makes you feel.