People who spend up to eight hours a day sitting at a desk while working in offices could reduce the health risks of this inactivity by getting up to one hour of exercise a day.

A recently published study in The Lancet reported that one hour of daily moderate intensity exercise, for example walking at 3.5 miles/hour or cycling at 10 miles/hour, could be enough to reduce, or eliminate the risk of developing health conditions including obesity and type 2 diabetes due to the effects of time spent in a sedentary position (being inactive).

Professor Ulf Ekelund from the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, who led the study, said: “There has been a lot of concern about the health risks associated with today’s more sedentary lifestyles. Our message is a positive one: it is possible to reduce – or even eliminate – these risks if we are active enough, even without having to take up sports or go to the gym.”


The negative effects on health of sitting at a desk for work can be countered by regular exercise

Being physically inactive due to work has been the subject of many studies, including a 1953 discovery that London bus drivers were at greater risk of heart disease compared to bus conductors. Researchers have continued to find more evidence that backs up the claims that a lack of physical activity can be a major risk factor for several health conditions possible early death.

More than 5 million people are estimated to die globally each year as a result of failing to meet recommended daily activity levels.

Studies in high-income countries have suggested that adults spend the majority of their waking hours sitting down. A typical day for many people is driving to work, sitting in an office, driving home and watching TV. Current physical activity guidelines recommend that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week.

The study, carried out by an international team of researchers from the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, University of Cambridge, University of Queensland, Oslo University Hospital, Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Sydney University and Harvard Medical School, combined a number of existing studies of more than 1 million men and women.

Two people exercising on exercise steps.


A recently published study in The Lancet reported that one hour of daily moderate intensity exercise, for example walking at 3.5 miles/hour or cycling at 10 miles/hour, could be enough to reduce, or eliminate the risk of developing health conditions including obesity and type 2 diabetes due to the effects of time spent in a sedentary position (being inactive).

Professor Ulf Ekelund from the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, who led the study, said: “There has been a lot of concern about the health risks associated with today’s more sedentary lifestyles. Our message is a positive one: it is possible to reduce – or even eliminate – these risks if we are active enough, even without having to take up sports or go to the gym.”


The negative effects on health of sitting at a desk for work can be countered by regular exercise

Being physically inactive due to work has been the subject of many studies, including a 1953 discovery that London bus drivers were at greater risk of heart disease compared to bus conductors. Researchers have continued to find more evidence that backs up the claims that a lack of physical activity can be a major risk factor for several health conditions possible early death.

More than 5 million people are estimated to die globally each year as a result of failing to meet recommended daily activity levels.

Studies in high-income countries have suggested that adults spend the majority of their waking hours sitting down. A typical day for many people is driving to work, sitting in an office, driving home and watching TV. Current physical activity guidelines recommend that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week.

The study, carried out by an international team of researchers from the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, University of Cambridge, University of Queensland, Oslo University Hospital, Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Sydney University and Harvard Medical School, combined a number of existing studies of more than 1 million men and women.

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