There have been numerous studies that have indicated that the time spent sitting is a primary factor in developing heart disease and other ailments. But a new study finds that it is actually the daily amount of physical activity that is crucial to one’s health.
Just a single risk walk may be enough to make the difference, say researchers at Örebro University in Sweden. “The study shows how important it is to encourage more physical activity. We are not talking slow everyday pace, but at least one brisk walk or other physical activity requiring some exertion,” says Andreas Nilsson.
120 women took part in the Örebro study. They had a medical examination and over the course of one week, their physical activity was measured using an accelerometer.
The results may well apply to other groups since they are in line with a meta-analysis of previous research based on a million adult men and women, which indicated that physical activity rather than sedentary behaviour affects the risk of mortality.
“Our study points in the same direction — that the negative health effects of a sedentary lifestyle decrease with the extent of physical activity,” says Professor Fawzi Kadi.
This means that if one person is jogging while another is only doing less strenuous activities, the first person runs a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease than the second — regardless of the extent of their sedentary activities.
The study was published in PLOS ONE.