Offset Prolonged Sitting in Just 22 Minutes

Woman walking on a treadmill
Woman walking on a treadmill | Image by Kamil Macniak/Shutterstock

A new study has revealed a compelling link between daily physical activity and reduced mortality risk.

Despite common misconceptions, recent research from Norway suggests that engaging in roughly 22 minutes of moderate to high-intensity activity every day can offset the risks associated with a sedentary way of life.

The paper published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine stems from data collected by several fitness-tracker-based studies, which surveyed a total of 11,989 individuals. Of the people studied, nearly half sat for less than 10.5 hours daily.

Although Edvard H. Sagelv from UiT The Arctic University of Norway in Tromso, one of the lead authors, noted that while experts are divided on just how dangerous a sedentary lifestyle is to an individual, it is nonetheless agreed that “excess sedentary time is increasing the risks of disease and premature death.”

Tracy L. Zaslow, who specializes in sports medicine and was not involved in the study, looks at excessive sitting as contributing to weakened muscles, including the heart. This can lead to cardiometabolic disease.

While there is no upper limit, the researchers found that 22 minutes is the magic number when it comes to offsetting sedentary lifestyles.

“Our study found that individuals doing more than 22 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day had no increased risk of death with more sedentary time. This contradicts the WHO recommendation to exceed 150-300 minutes of MVPA per week when dealing with unavoidable high sedentary time,” Sagelv said.

In essence, as the amount of daily exercise a person does increases, the mortality risk decreases.

Zaslow clarified that exercise doesn’t have to be done all at once but can be spread out across the day in short intervals.

On the other side, the study found that those who exercised for under 22 minutes and sat for over 12 hours daily had a 38% higher death risk than those who sat for just eight hours.

The perils of a sedentary lifestyle also include obesity, a raging public health issue in the United States tied to serious health conditions and early death, as extensively covered by The Dallas Express.

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