Any Amount of Physical Activity Yields Health Benefits and Is Better Than None

 Most of us spend a large portion of our day sitting in office or at home. There is a price we have to pay for prolonged sitting – a detrimental cardio-metabolic health. This includes increasing risk for a group of preventable chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and obesity.  

 A large cohort study of Australian adults aged 45 years and older published by Van der Ploeg et al in 2014 showed a dose-response association between standing time and all-cause mortality. Increasing standing time from 2 to 5 and to more than 8 hours a day decreased all-cause mortality by 10% to 15% and to 24%.  Buffey et all in his meta-analysis and systematic review published recently in 2022 have shown that frequent short interruptions of standing (2 to 20 minutes of standing after every 20 to 60 minutes of sitting) and light-intensity walking (1.5– 4.4 km/hour or a comfortable pace down hallways) can significantly improve postprandial glucose metabolism (improve postprandial insulin, reduce post prandial glucose levels) when compared to sedentary time of prolonged sitting of 5 hours or more. Light-intensity walking was superior when compared to standing. So no matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch. Any amount of physical activity yields health benefits and is better than none. 

By: Rusly Harsono, MD & Helena Zhang, BS


Journal Reference:

  1. van der Ploeg HP, Chey T, Ding D, Chau JY, Stamatakis E, Bauman AE. Standing time and all-cause mortality in a large cohort of Australian adults. Prev Med. 2014 Dec;69:187-91. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.10.004. Epub 2014 Oct 16. PMID: 25456805.
  2. Buffey AJ, Herring MP, Langley CK, Donnelly AE, Carson BP. The Acute Effects of Interrupting Prolonged Sitting Time in Adults with Standing and Light-Intensity Walking on Biomarkers of Cardiometabolic Health in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Sports Med. 2022 Aug;52(8):1765-1787. doi: 10.1007/s40279-022-01649-4. Epub 2022 Feb 11. PMID: 35147898; PMCID: PMC9325803.
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