Research: Just 22 Minutes a day of Physical Activity Could Mitigate the Negative Impacts of a Sedentary Lifestyle

Although working from home (WFH) offers numerous benefits to workers, there are certain health risks involved.

As sedentary lifestyles have become a public health priority in many nations, WFH is in fact doing nothing to improve them.

A recent study, however, suggests that short, manageable activities, such as 20 minutes a day of physical exercise, could mitigate the negative consequences of extended sitting.

There are clear global health guidelines that persons between the ages of 18 and 64 should engage in muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week in addition to 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity per week.

In any case, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that quantity for people in order to maintain “good health.”

In addition, according to the health authority, only 25% of men and 33% of women globally dedicate adequate time to this kind of exercise, despite the fact that it is crucial for reducing the negative impacts of a sedentary lifestyle. And with the surge in remote employment, this is getting more and harder.

A team of researchers led by scientists at UiT The Arctic University of Norway set out to determine whether physical activity could lower the risk of death linked to prolonged sitting. The team’s hypothesis was based on the observation that adults spend, on average, 9 to 10 hours a day in a seated position, at least in developed countries.

Above all, they tried to figure out how long physical activity had to last in order to buck the trend.

In order to accomplish this, data from 11,989 people who were at least 50 years old and had activity sensors were analyzed. The data came from four surveys conducted between 2003 and 2019—two in Norway, one in Sweden, and one in the USA. After that, the data was connected to death registries.

The study, which was published in a reputable journal, predicts that 5,943 people sat for less than 10.5 hours a day, while 6,042 participants sat for more. According to the study, 805 people passed away, 357 of whom sat for less than 10.5 hours per day and 448 for more than that amount.

Over the course of an average five-year monitoring period, this was noted. Thanks to this data, the researchers were able to draw the conclusion that compared to an 8-hour daily sitting period, prolonged sitting—that is, sitting for more than 12 hours—is linked to a 38% greater risk of mortality. However, this trend did not seem to be reversed for all people, since moderate-to-vigorous physical exercise lasting at least 22 minutes per day appeared to aid.