Our sedentary lifestyles are well documented. Scientifically linked with early death, as well as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity, the modern world is, unfortunately, set up for us to sit down. If you’re reading this at your desk, then we’re here to bring you good news.
A new study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine this week, found that taking 22 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day may be enough to counteract the negative health effects that sitting down for long periods of time has on the body (and mind, for that matter).
What kinds of exercise? According to Edvard Sagelv, the lead author of the study, that’s “activities that make you breathe a little bit heavier, like brisk walking, or gardening, or walking up a hill”. Other easy ideas to inspire you during the working day include a speedy walk at lunch, during your commute or even doing a walking meeting, a HIIT workout first thing, or a 20-minute class on the Peloton.
It needn’t be overly strenuous, but it is worth spending as much time as possible moving each day. The more, the better. The study found that those sitting for more than 12 hours a day – a very real possibility if you sit at work, then go on to recline on the sofa at home – and not doing that golden 22 minutes of additional exercise have a 38 per cent higher risk of death compared to those sitting for eight hours.
Sitting down and… death? Yep, that escalated fast, but our bodies aren’t designed to sit for such long periods of time, and science has long shown the negative impact sedentary lifestyles can have. Health experts recommend getting up regularly throughout the day, even just for a quick walk, as well as venturing outdoors, which has also been shown to help with creativity, focus and sleep. Whether you schedule it into your diary or make breaks a regular thing, make it your mission to move more.
This article was originally published on British Vogue.