Studies have shown that people who have a sedentary lifestyle and sit for at least 8 hours a day have an increased risk of numerous health issues which can lead to premature death. While that may hold some truth, a recently published research exhibited that the ill effects of sitting for long periods can be countered with 11 to 35 minutes of movement.
In a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, it was shown that 11 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, such as brisk walking, can reduce the risk of premature death. The research involved about 44,000 middle-aged and older men and women who were made to wear accelerometers to track the amount of time they performed physical activity or when they were sedentary.
The results of the research displayed that the greatest statistical improvement appeared to be 35 minutes of brisk walking per day. According to Ulf Ekelund, Ph.D., professor of sports medicine at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, “Those who were active for about 35 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, did not have a statistically significant risk of dying during follow-up, even if they were sedentary for more than 10 hours.”
How To Get 35 Minutes of Physical Activity Every Day
If you’re currently living a sedentary lifestyle, it’s not too late to start getting 35 minutes of exercise. Pamela Stewart Fahs, RN, Ph.D., professor at Binghamton University’s Decker School of Nursing in New York recommends scheduling exercise into your day and preparing for it. “If you walk on your lunch hour, keep a pair of suitable walking shoes by your desk,” she added.
Fahs also mentioned making walking dates with friends or co-workers, even through virtual means. Set a schedule with the other person and get on the phone and talk as you walk outside. Virtual walks can also be used as a strategy to stay connected with friends and family who live far from you.
If you have a busy schedule, you can still fit in walking into your workday. Ekelund noted that in the study they conducted, the data was based on accumulated time, meaning that logging 35 minutes of walking over the course of the day is just as effective as walking 35 minutes at once. “Every minute counts, and accumulating about 35 minutes also in short bouts appears beneficial,” said Ekelund. You can take 10 minutes of your morning to walk to work or walk around the office every now and then to stretch your legs and give yourself a break. These strategies can become a part of your daily routine.
Slabaugh also recommended doing small actions throughout the day to become less sedentary as they can all add up. “Any type of activity you can do is better than nothing,” he said. You can take the stairs, park further from the entrance, get up to fill your mug or water bottle, pace around as you talk on the phone, and the like.
Moreover, you can always mix up various exercises with walking to get those 35 minutes of exercise. “Anything that you can to get your heart rate up will be better for you long term,” said Slabaugh. Walking to an upbeat playlist can certainly help in giving a bounce to your steps. You can also add intervals such as walking up an incline, wearing weights, doing jumping jacks or lunges, walking on terrain, dancing, and more in between.
35 minutes of physical activity can be easily incorporated into a person’s lifestyle. Brisk walking over the course of the day can lessen the risk of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and more. Additionally, it can also improve your mood levels and reduce stress, leading to a better overall quality of life.
If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, it’s not too late to switch around and be more active! Along with brisk walking, there are numerous short exercises that you can include in your daily routine. Try them out!