Several weeks ago I wrote a column on Anti-Aging: Research on Longevity. I just read about a new large scale study on the effects of sitting too much.
Many of us spend most of our time sitting down. Other than doing a few chores I’ve been sitting all morning. As we head into winter and ride less, we probably sit more.
Many studies show a correlation between sitting a lot and all-cause mortality. But how active should you be? The primary recommendation for aerobic activity is 30 minutes most days of the week. If you sit for eight hours and then walk for 30 minutes after dinner have you fully offset the effects of being on your butt? A new study answered this question.
The meta-study reviewed results of nine different studies with a total of almost 50,000 volunteers. The men and women wore accelerometers to gauge activity. They were probably similar to you: middle-aged and older and lived in the United States and Europe. However, they sat a lot more than you. Most averaged 10 hours a day sitting with only a few minutes a day of walking around!
The researchers divided the 50,000 volunteers into thirds. To no ones surprise, the men and women in the bottom third who were extremely sedentary had a much higher risk of premature death; however, the degree of higher risk was astounding. The sedentary folks had about a 260 percent more likelihood of premature death than the folks in the top third who moved the most and sat the least. (The researchers controlled for smoking, body mass and other factors that might have influenced the results.)
Men and women in the middle third who exercised moderately for about 11 minutes a day had a much lower risk of premature death even if they sat as much as people in the bottom third who moved less. Just 11 minutes a day of walking, etc., started to compensate for sitting around.
The researchers then asked what’s the sweet spot for exercise to offset sitting most of they day. They concluded that 35 minutes a day of moderate aerobic activity most days of the week is optimal. You can read more about the study in New York Times.
The researchers conclusion fits with the new recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The first recommendation of HHS is “Adults should move more and sit less throughout the day.”
The WHO, ACSM and HHS all recommend adults should do at least
- 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or
- 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or
- an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
For more see my column on Anti-Aging: New Exercise Recommendations
My eBook Anti-Aging: 12 Ways You Can Slow the Aging Process includes chapters on how to meet the ACSM’s recommendations on aerobic, high intensity aerobic, strength training, balance, flexibility and . I include plans to incorporate all of the types of exercise into your weekly program and how the programs can emphasize different kinds of exercise at different times of the year. The 106-page Anti-Aging: 12 Ways You Can Slow the Aging Process is $14.99.
Coach John Hughes earned coaching certifications from USA Cycling and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. John’s cycling career includes course records in the Boston-Montreal-Boston 1200-km randonnée and the Furnace Creek 508, a Race Across AMerica (RAAM) qualifier. He has ridden solo RAAM twice and is a 5-time finisher of the 1200-km Paris-Brest-Paris. He has written nearly 30 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training and nutrition, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach John Hughes. Click to read John’s full bio.