Research: Swap 30 minutes of sedentary time with physical activity to lower mortality rates

Substitute activity for sedentary time, urge health professionals. ― AFP pic
Substitute activity for sedentary time, urge health professionals. ― AFP pic

NEW YORK, Jan 16 ― New US research has found that substituting just 30 minutes of sedentary time with activity could help lower the risk of early death.

Led by researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, the new study looked at 7,999 adults age 45 and older and measured their sedentary time using an accelerometer, a device similar to a pedometer, for a period of at least four days.

After recording the amount and intensity of physical activity participants engaged in while awake, the researchers estimated how substituting time spent sitting with time being physically active would affect their risk of early death.

The findings, published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology, showed that replacing just 30 minutes of sitting time with low-intensity physical activity would lower the risk of early death by 17 per cent, which the team notes is a statistically significant decrease.

Substituting 30 minutes of sedentary time with moderate to vigorous activity would bring even greater benefits estimate the researchers, cutting the risk of early death by 35 per cent.

The team also found that even short bursts of activity of just a minute or two could still provide a health benefit.

“Our findings underscore an important public health message that physical activity of any intensity provides health benefits,” says Keith Diaz, PhD, lead author of the paper.

“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.

In a previous study Diaz also found that individuals who sit for an hour or more without interruption have 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.

In addition, those who sat for less than 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk of early death, suggesting that taking breaks to move around every half-hour could also lower the risk of mortality. ― AFP-Relaxnews

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