Your desk job could be the death of you but early death could be avoided with an hour of brisk exercise.
A recent study has shown that having a desk job increases the risk of dying earlier but the risk can be reduced by 150 minutes of exercise per week.
The study involved over a million people and the analysis of their data is part of a study of physical activity published in the Lancet to coincide with the Olympics. Watching TV was discovered to be worse than just having a desk job, due to its relation with snacking, not participating in exercise and having a sedentary lifestyle is known to increase the risk of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. These issues have been linked to 5.3 million global deaths a year.
The study included the researchers asking authors of existing papers to re-evaluate their data to include this study’s parameters, which was classing people depending on their level of activity. From people who did less than 5 minutes exercise a day, classed as the least active, to those who did up to 60-75 minutes a day, being classed as the most active. The follow up period of analysis of these people was to look at how many of them had died during the 14 years that had passed. The people in the study who sat for 8 hours at their desk job but still completed their exercise had a higher survival rate when compared to those who did not.
Professor Ulf Ekelund of the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences and the University of Cambridge, led the study:
“For many people who commute to work and have office-based jobs, there is no way to escape sitting for prolonged periods of time.
“For these people in particular, we cannot stress enough the importance of getting exercise, whether it’s getting out for a walk at lunchtime, going for a run in the morning or cycling to work.
“An hour of physical activity per day is the ideal, but if this is unmanageable, then at least doing some exercise each day can help reduce the risk.”
However, he did admit that the hours recommended were more than the current recommendation.
Watching TV for more than three hours also increases risk. This, as previously mentioned, is linked to the fact that people tend to snack while they sit and also that usually watching TV happens after dinner. This means that it may have an affect on their metabolism. All of this research has been done in line with the Olympics to encourage the public to take up sport regularly, as there is an increased interest during the Olympic season. Dr Pedro Hallal of Brazil’s Federal University of Pelotas looked at the effect of the Olympics on the general public’s activity levels:
“There’s been no health legacy of the Olympics reported ever, but it’s the perfect time to talk about human movement.”
Meaning that the government should look into ways to tackled laziness and encourage people to be more active. Including ideas like placing bus stops further apart and making it easier for employees to be active on their lunch breaks. Dr Mike Loosemore, from the English Institute of Sport, said:
“For the vast majority of people while the best way to stay healthy would be to do an hour of moderate activity a day, realistically the best place to start is reducing your sedentary behaviour at work by sitting less and try to increase whatever physical activity you are doing.”
Are you going to try being more active?
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