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Do You Have a Desk Job and Don't Have Time to Exercise? Here's What You Can Do to Reverse That

33511145 - senior couple walking through sand dunes on winter beach
33511145 – senior couple walking through sand dunes on winter beach

Most Americans these days have jobs that require sitting a a desk for much of the day. Being this sedentary has a serious adverse effect on your health and can even lead to increased risk of early death. But we all need our jobs, so what do we do?

Don’t worry, a new study has come out that suggests there is one simple thing you can do that reverses the effects of being sedentary.

The scientists from the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences in Oslo, Norway, and the University of Cambridge in the U.K. studied the data on over a million people from sixteen other studies. Their objective was to figure out how many of hours of physical activity it would take to counteract the bad effects of sitting all day long in a typical 9-5 office type job.

The results were surprising. It turns out, you don’t necessarily have to be a super athlete and work out hard for many hours a day to reap the benefits. All it takes it one hour of moderate physical activity each day, such as walking.

The data studied was from people from Western Europe, the U.S. and Australia, and were aged 45 and up. Their data was used to divide them into four groups according to their level of physical activity. These groups ranged from those who were active for less then 5 minutes a day, to those who put in 60-75 minutes of physical activity a day. Among the common activities included were cycling and brisk walking.

It was noted that only 1/4 of the people in the study exercised for an hour a day or more.

According to the data, the risk of increased early death that is linked with sitting for 8 hours a day was eliminated if the volunteers did physical activity for at least an hour a day. In fact, those who sat for 8 hours a day but exercised daily, actually had a much lower risk of early death than those who sat for fewer than 8 hours a day but did not exercise.

Those who sat the most, also had the highest risk for death.

The message that the study’s lead researcher, Ulf Ekelund of the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, wanted to give was that you don’t have to take up extreme sports or do anything out of the ordinary to greatly reduce or even eliminate the risks of early death. All you have to do is get out there and do a moderate level of physical activity for about an hour a day.

That is something that is easily doable for most people. So, if you’re despairing about having to sit for hours each day at your office job, take heart – you can reverse the negative effect by simply taking a good long walk each day.


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