SYDNEY, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Office workers who sit for long periods of time can reverse the health risks of their modern sedentary lifestyle by exercising just 20 minutes per day, a new international study has found on Tuesday.
Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the University of Sydney-led collaboration with the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the UK's Loughborough University examined the health consequences associated with sitting.
By statistically modeling physical activity and sitting against the death records of nearly 150,000 study participants aged 45 years and over, the study found "physical activity is particularly important for people who sit a lot."
"Reducing sitting would be a good start but is not enough," lead author Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, from the University of Sydney's School of Public Health said.
"In our study, sitting time was associated consistently with both overall premature mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality in the least physically active groups - those doing under 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity per week."
"For example, people who were physically inactive and sat for more than eight hours per day had 107 percent higher risk for cardiovascular death compared to those who did at least one hour of physical activity per day and sat less than four hours."
"But one hour of physical activity per day is not necessary. Meeting the Australian public health recommendation of 150 to 300 minutes per week -- equivalent to around 20-40 minutes per day on average -- appeared to eliminate sitting risks."
With many public health professionals growing increasingly concerned about the health risks associated with sitting, Stamatakis hopes the findings of the study will act as a wake-up call to office workers leading sedentary lifestyles who don't get enough exercise.
"Any movement is good for health but physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity -- that is activities that get people out of breath -- is the most potent and most time-efficient," Stamatakis said.
"Exercise and sports are a great way to be active but are not the only way -- walking fast, climbing stairs, and cycling to get from place to place are only some of the many opportunities everyday life offers to move and even 'huff and puff' sometimes."