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One hour of 'brisk exercise' can offset risks associated with sitting

02/08/2016

One hour of 'brisk exercise' can offset risks associated with sittingOne hour of "brisk exercise" each day can offset the risk of early death for people who are desk-bound in their working lives, according to scientists.

The study of physical activity - the results of which were published in The Lancet - analysed data from more than one million people to see how being inactive affects people's health.

Watching TV was found to be worse than sitting at a desk. This is because of the associated habits that go with it, like snacking. However, even people who sit at a desk for eight hours a day because of their jobs can compensate by undertaking an hour of physical activity.

In fact, the research found that desk-bound workers who were physically active had a significantly lower risk of death than people who weren't physically active and only sat for a few hours.

At present, NHS guidelines recommend people do at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. The new research suggests that is insufficient for many.

Being inactive has long been linked to conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers, and accounts for around 5.3 million deaths globally each year. For comparison, smoking accounts for around 5.1 million.

Prof Ulf Ekelund, Lead author of the study, from the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences and Cambridge University, said that people don't even need to do sport or go the gym to exercise.

"It’s OK doing some brisk walking, maybe in the morning, during lunchtime, after dinner in the evening. You can split it up over the day, but you need to do at least one hour," he said.
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