A study conducted by Cambridge University of over 334,000 European men and women found that twice as many deaths may be attributable to lack of physical activity compared with the number of deaths attributable to obesity, but that just a modest increase in physical activity could have significant health benefits. (Read more at ScienceDaily.)
That study suggests that perhaps walking as few as 20 minutes a day could be enough to reduce an individual’s risk of early death.
Okay, so you may not have 20 minutes a day. ( I don’t.) “The authors estimate that doing exercise equivalent to just a 20 minute brisk walk each day — burning between 90 and 110 kcal (‘calories’) — would take an individual from the inactive to moderately inactive group and reduce their risk of premature death by between 16-30%.” So the 20 minute daily walk is an estimate, the result of which is the minimum amount of change.
James Fisher and James Steele, II may take issue with such an estimate. They recently published a paper in the Journal of Human Kinetics suggesting that benefits from exercise are hinged more upon effort than the exercise modality. “In light of the concept discussed herein, persons wishing to engage in exercise in order to improve the noted markers of health and fitness might be able to select from a wide range of potential exercise modalities in order to achieve this. The caveat being, regardless of the modality chosen, persons should aim to exercise to a high level of effort in order to maximize these benefits.”
So whether it’s 20 minutes of walking (low effort) daily or a 20 minutes of high intensity exercise (high effort) weekly, it’s clear that exercise is important to make part of your life.
But doing regular exercise does not mean you can sit for hours on end at work. Earlier I posted an article about how sitting is really, really bad for you. So bad, that exercise cannot make up for damaging effects of long hours of sitting. So get up and move around, please, with some regularity.