Spending another night on the sofa? You’re not the only one. When you become accustomed to a sedentary lifestyle (or just hibernating from the British weather) it can feel like an uphill battle to keep fit.
Especially when we’re constantly being told that the eight hours spent spent at our desks isn’t helping matters either.
But now a new study has revealed that it only takes as little as ten minutes of physical activity per day to make a difference to your health, regardless of how much time you spend sitting on your bottom the rest of the time.
Professor Fawzi Kadi, said: “Our study points in the same direction ― that the negative health effects of a sedentary lifestyle decrease with the extent of physical activity.”
While we know that a sedentary lifestyle has negative impact on our heart health, and increases our risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, it isn’t as one-dimensional as it might first seem.
In fact the research, from Orebro University, Sweden, found that it isn’t the hours you spend sitting still that matters, but the extent of the physical activity you do to counteract the sitting, which will make the difference long-term.
While this is good news for all those office workers, the walk does have to be brisk to raise your heart rate, rather than a slow march to Pret to buy lunch.
Andreas Nilsson, co-author on the paper, said: “The study shows how important it is to encourage more physical activity. We are not talking slow everyday pace, but at least one brisk walk or other physical activity requiring some exertion.”
This means that if person A is jogging for ten minutes and person B is walking, it doesn’t matter if person A generally leads a more sedentary lifestyle, as they are running for that period of time they will have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
“Getting up once in a while is naturally a good thing, but doing more exercise is better for our health,” said Nilsson.
The study looked at 120 women over the age of 65 using an accelerometer, but researchers say the findings probably apply to all gender and age demographics.