Updated: April 30, 2016 1:00:53 pm
Swapping out just a few minutes of sedentary time with some sort of movement, such as walking around or doing dishes, is associated with a reduced mortality risk, a new study has claimed.
Researchers looked at data from about 3,000 people aged 50-79 who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. For the study, subjects wore ultra-sensitive activity trackers, called accelerometers, for seven days. The least active people were five times more likely to die during that period than the most active people and three times more likely than those in the middle range for activity, researchers said.
“When we compare people who exercise the same amount, those who sit less and move around more tend to live longer,” said lead author Ezra Fishman, a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. “The folks who were walking around, washing the dishes, sweeping the floor tended to live longer than the people who were sitting at a desk,” Fishman said.
To account for chronic conditions or illness influencing mortality rates, researchers statistically controlled for factors like diagnosed medical conditions, smoking, age and gender. They also completed a secondary examination from which they entirely excluded participants with chronic conditions. Even adding just 10 minutes per day of light activity could make a difference, researchers said.
Replacing 30 minutes of sedentary time with light or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity produced even better results. “You didn’t have to even get a good sweat to experience the reduced likelihood of mortality,” Fishman said. The study was published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.