To Your Health
November, 2023 (Vol. 17, Issue 11)
Reversing Down Time
By Editorial Staff
"Down time" refers to inactive time – the time we aren't spending engaged in work. In this case, we're using it as a synonym for time spent doing nothing, particularly in the sense of movement – sedentary time.
Research implicates excess sedentary time in a wide range of health issues; and these days, too many people are engaging in far too much of it.
Fortunately, research suggests exercise can help reverse the effects of sedentary time. In a review of previous studies, people who spent more than 12 hours a day sedentary had a higher mortality (death) rate during the study period compared to people who were sedentary for eight or fewer hours a day.
However, the even more important finding was that a little more than 20 daily minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise (22 minutes, to be precise) effectively reversed the equation, negating the risk associated with sedentary time. Findings appear in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
The review study involved nearly 12,000 adults (ages 50 and older at baseline) whose physical activity and sedentary time were tracked by way of accelerometers worn by each participant. Follow-up to track mortality occurred over an average of five-plus years.
Between your desk job, sitting on the couch and sleeping, does most of your day qualify as sedentary? Find time for daily physical activity and reverse the potential damage. Talk to your doctor for more information about moderate vs. vigorous physical activity (including ones that don't involve going to the gym).