How 22 minutes of exercise a day could reduce the health risks from sitting too long | udayavani
A recent investigation reveals the power of 22 minutes of intense physical activity in defying the mortality risks associated with prolonged sitting. Constantinis/Getty Images Innovative research has unearthed the astonishing potential of dedicating 22 minutes to moderate to vigorous exercise, effectively lowering mortality risks for individuals aged 50 and above. This groundbreaking study highlights the stark reality of our increasingly sedentary lives, where many individuals spend more than 8 hours a day in a state of immobility. Experts emphasize that the study’s findings, although seemingly self-evident, carry significant implications for individuals of all age groups. A freshly published study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine uncovers that engaging in 22 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily can be a life-saving choice for those leading a sedentary lifestyle. The study involved an in-depth analysis of data from 11,989 participants spanning across Norway, Sweden, and the United States.
All participants included in the study were aged 50 or above.
Dr. Carl Cirino, an orthopedic surgeon at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery, believes there are profound takeaways for both medical practitioners and patients.
“In our modern, convenient lives, we have transitioned from a nomadic, hunter-gatherer lifestyle to residing in comfortable homes with electricity and numerous luxuries. This study defines the optimal duration of physical activity to reduce mortality risk in a scientifically robust manner,” Cirino noted.
Key Findings of the Study The data was collected using hip accelerometers to distinguish between periods of inactivity and activity. The research uncovered that even for individuals sedentary for 12 hours or more daily, the 22-minute threshold for exercise obliterated associated mortality risks.
Even for those who fell slightly short of the 22-minute mark, engaging in moderate to vigorous activities still resulted in a notable drop in mortality rates.
For instance, those who managed just 10 minutes of activity while spending six hours a day in a sedentary state experienced a remarkable 32% reduction in mortality risk.
Though the study primarily focused on older adults, Dr. Tracy Zaslow, a primary care sports medicine physician at Cedars Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute, suggests that the study’s insights could be valuable to younger individuals too.
“It serves as a reminder to young athletes and non-athletes, as well as younger adults and adolescents, highlighting the importance of building muscle strength and cardiovascular health to maintain physical activity. The more they invest in their health when they are younger, the stronger the foundation for maintaining it as they age.”
Vigorous vs. Moderate Activity Experts categorize activities such as brisk walking and using a power mower to mow the lawn as moderate, while hiking or playing a game of basketball falls into the vigorous category.
Cirino often encounters patients who must adapt their preferred activities post-surgery, and this study aids him in helping them identify activities that align with their health goals while ensuring safety.
“For instance, as a shoulder and elbow surgeon, I often meet individuals passionate about tennis singles or pickleball. They have a specific interest in overhead activities or sports. This study guides me in steering them toward alternative activities that they can engage in.”
Limitations and the Way Forward The study acknowledges its limitations. Differentiating between the effects of various activities proved challenging due to the measuring device used. Additionally, a lack of data made it impossible to directly compare these results to younger individuals.
Nonetheless, Zaslow stresses the study’s importance in emphasizing that, while not all activities are equal, doing something is better than nothing. The research has identified variations in the benefits for those engaging in light exercise, underlining the significance of staying active in any way possible.
Encouraging Future Research The researchers propose that encouraging older adults to participate in shorter bursts of activity could become a potential treatment approach.
For Zaslow, a board-certified pediatrician, this study highlights the need for further exploration into reducing the risk of a sedentary lifestyle among youth. Although it’s often assumed that children, especially those aged six to ten, are naturally active, this is not always the case.
“Our society has developed a lot of sedentary behavior for various reasons. Consequently, kids are frequently less active than previous generations. Understanding the impact of this and determining the minimum activity needed for a healthier future is crucial.”
Key Takeaway Recent research underscores that dedicating just 22 minutes a day to vigorous exercise can effectively counteract the adverse health effects of extended periods of sitting.
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