I love my work. I really do. But the major downside of working in an office is the amount of time I spend sitting. And the worst part of it is that I don’t even notice the backache and tension on my shoulders (yes, I have the body of an old lady) until people starts to leave the office and call it a day.
All of us are aware of the devastating ravage a sedentary behavior has on our health, and how physical activity is perhaps the best natural weapon against all kind of diseases. Since most of us spend more than seven hours a day working, five times per week, the work environment is a public matter that needs to be addressed just as much as the personal lifestyle, if not more IMO.
Not exercising enough and too TV time increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and early death.
If the thought of health threats knocking on your door is gnawing at you, you’ll be thrilled to hear the following news.
In a recent article published in the medical journal The Lancet, the authors manage to bring hope to office workers such as myself. According to their meta-analysis that included more than 1 million men and women, daily moderate physical activity appears to be enough to wipe out the risk of death associated with prolonged sitting time.
“Indeed, those in the highest physical activity quartile (about 60–75 min/day) who sat for more than 8 h daily had a significantly lower risk of dying during follow-up than did those who sat for less than 4 h in the least active quartile (about 5 min/day),” reported the authors of the study.
However, the authors stressed that “for TV-viewing time, the results were similar, except that high physical activity attenuated, but did not eliminate the risk, in those viewing TV for 5 h or more a day.”
What is even more jaw-dropping is the staggering 58% higher risk of death in people who sat > 8 hours a day and did little physical activity, a number that is comparable to individuals who smoke and are obese (say what?).
Current U.S. guidelines recommend one hour of moderate physical activity every day, which is slightly less than the amount reported by the study.
This study is the first meta-analysis to assess the risk of mortality by taking into account both the amount of sitting time and physical activity.