However, new research is suggesting the damage is in fact reversible. In a study published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine in November, scientists have shown that the perils of prolonged sitting can be countered if the individual exceeds weekly recommended activity levels. The study, which involved more than 44,000 people from four different countries, “reveals that a high daily tally of sedentary time (defined in this study as 10 or more hours) is linked to a significantly heightened risk of death, particularly among people who are physically inactive. But 30 to 40 daily minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity substantially weakens this risk, bringing it down to levels associated with very low amounts of sedentary time.”
This is good news particularly for those 50 per cent of Australians whose jobs involve extended periods of sitting. It appears a rigorous exercise regime would be able to reverse the negative impacts of such inactivity. As for what form of exercise is recommended, that’s entirely up to you. “All physical activity counts,” the official research states. “This could be anything from climbing the stairs instead of taking the lift, a walk around the block, a spot of gardening, or some household chores, to going for a run or bike ride, a high intensity interval training work-out, or team sport.”
Interestingly, a different study in the same issue of BSJ details the positive impact of exercise not just on the individual’s health, but on wider society. The research as interpreted by Science Daily, suggests that doing “at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every week… would increase global gross domestic product (GDP) by between 0.15%-0.24% a year between now and 2050.”
So there you have it. Don’t exercise to escape the fact that sitting on your arse all day is sending you to an early grave. Don’t do it to raise self esteem. Nor to fight disease.
Do it for the economy.