Sitting Too Much? Here's How You Can Reverse the Damage

By Editorial Staff

A few years ago, sitting was labeled the "new smoking" because of its similar impact on overall health. After all, a sedentary lifestyle elevates the risk of the majority of poor health outcomes including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many cancers, just for starters. Fortunately, research also suggests you can "reverse" the potential damage of sitting by doing just the opposite – in a sense.

People who sit too much can offset the health risks by increasing their physical activity, according to new guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behavior published by the World Health Organization (WHO). The guidelines, presented in a special issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, suggest people who spend 10 or more hours a day sitting can essentially reduce the health risks associated with all that sitting to levels seen in people who spend very little time sitting.

How much exercise does it take? Approximately 30-40 minutes of moderate-to-intense exercise a day, says the WHO. That's at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, or at least 75-100 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, every week.

If the prospect of spending that much time being physically active sounds daunting, keep in mind that physical activity isn't limited to working out. Activities such as walking, gardening, certain household chores, a bike ride, etc., can all count toward the daily / weekly goal. For more examples of each intensity level, click here.

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