Like many of us, I follow the CDC’s guidelines of exercising at least 30 minutes each day. I walk my dog, follow a YouTube exercise routine, or ride a stationary bike, and I always feel better when I’m done with it. However, I can’t help but wonder if this half an hour really resists all the time I spend sitting. My hips, back, and shoulders still hurt at the end of a long work day, and my thigh muscles feel tight.
Curious, I dig around and found a short answer: 30 minutes of daily exercise does it Not Cancel an entire day of sitting. However, adding more movement to your daily routine can help counter the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
What does the search say about sitting?
We already know that prolonged sitting is not good for us. Physicians and physiotherapists have noticed It causes poor blood circulation It can weaken your big leg and gluteal muscles. If you’re over 50, weak calf muscles make you more likely to fall and injure yourself, and prolonged sitting can shorten your quadriceps, which can lead to problems with your hip joints. Also, poor posture may cause the discs in the spine to compress more than they should and accelerate their degeneration. But how does a sedentary lifestyle affect longevity?
A large body of research confirms that prolonged sitting is detrimental to our health in the long run. A recent study was published in heart gamma Which followed more than 100,000 participants, found that sitting for eight hours or more per day was associated with an increased risk of death and cardiovascular disease. By contrast, sitting for less than four hours a day and exercising every day significantly reduces these risks.
Another study was published in British Journal of Sports Medicine In 2021, we looked at the benefits of 30 minutes of daily exercise. After following more than 130,000 participants for nearly 14 years, researchers learned that half an hour of exercise reduces the risk of death By up to 80 percent In people who spent less than seven hours sitting. However, 30 minutes of exercise had a less positive effect on those who spent 7 to 11 hours sitting, and no positive effect on people who spent more than 11 hours sitting.
So, if you spend less than seven hours a day sitting, 30 minutes of exercise may be enough. But the more hours you spend in a seated position, the more physical activity you will need to counteract that sitting time.
How much exercise do you need
Here’s what researchers recommend: If you have to work eight hours a day in an office, you should do moderate to rigorous physical activity for about an hour a day. When you’re not working, don’t sit back and watch TV or scroll on your phone! Instead, engage in two to four hours of light activity before and after work.
Here are some ways to ramp up your activity:
- Invest in a treadmill And put it in the TV room, so you can take a walk while watching your favorite shows.
- Take your pup for a longer walk each morning, or do some housework before work.
- After completing a big project or task, take five or 10 minutes to stretch or perform a squat. (It’s also helpful to take five minutes every hour to stretch, but many people find it difficult to maintain because it breaks their focus.)
- While you cook dinner, use the cooking time to perform fast asItchen . workout.
- Invest in a permanent desk. stand up Not as useful as walking It may lead to foot pain without proper shoes, but it will help you work on your balance and posture.
Make more time for physical activity on the weekends. Keep walking longer If possible, increase your pace for about 20 minutes. If you’re not interested in walking, sign up for a weekend dance, yoga, or water aerobics class. The more you move your body, the more you invest in your long-term health.