Is the 9-5 desk job killing you?
A major Lancet study, which looked at one million adults has found that sitting for at least eight hours a day could increase the risk of premature death by up to 60 per cent, the Telegraph has reported.
Now, office workers are being urged to take five minute breaks every hour, as well as exercising at lunchtime and outside of work, as the research says that just one hour’s activity a day was enough to reverse the damage caused by prolonged sitting.
Scientists said sedentary lifestyles were now posing as great a threat to public health as smoking, and were causing more deaths than obesity.
Lead scientist Professor Ulf Ekelund, from Cambridge University and the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, said: “We found that at least one hour of physical activity per day, for example brisk walking or bike cycling, eliminates the association between sitting time and death.”
A decent walk – at a speed of just over three miles an hour – was enough to achieve the benefit, he stressed.
“You don’t need to do sport, you don’t need to go to the gym, it’s OK doing some brisk walking maybe in the morning, during your lunchtime, after dinner in the evening. You can split it up over the day but you need to do at least one hour,” he said.
Researchers said that:
- the typical modern lifestyle of spending a day in front of a computer, followed by an evening slumped in front of the television was proving fatal;
- whilst they could not pinpoint why long periods of sitting were specifically risky, movement appeared to assist the body’s metabolism, while sedentary periods could influence hormones such as leptin, which regulate energy balance;
- among those who sat for at least eight hours daily and managed less than five minutes’ activity mortality rates were 9.9 per cent;
- those who spent just as long seated, but managed at least an hour’s exercise, saw death rates drop to 6.2 per cent;
- cancer and heart disease were the two most likely causes of death linked to inactivity; and
- around one hour’s activity a day was enough to reverse the damage caused by prolonged sitting.
Similar results were found when the scientists looked at the television viewing habits of a subgroup of about 500,000 people. Watching TV for more than three hours per day was associated with an increased risk of death in all groups except those who managed at least an hour’s exercise.
The research, from 16 studies, is among four papers published recently in The Lancet ahead of the Olympic Games in Brazil.
Read the full article here, or visit The Lancet.
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In this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.
We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.