How much exercise is needed to offset a day of sitting

We all know that spending too much time sitting down is detrimental to our health. But precisely how much exercise is required to counteract the negative consequences of a sedentary lifestyle?

According to a research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, engaging in 30-40 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity each day should do the trick.

The study examined nine previous studies involving 44370 participants from four different countries who wore fitness trackers.


The findings demonstrated that as the time spent in moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity decreased, the risk of death among those leading sedentary lives increased.

However, individuals who incorporated 30-40 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise into their routine saw their risk of early mortality reduced, essentially normalizing it.

This correlation was observed across thousands of participants, providing robust evidence for the connection.

One remarkable aspect of this research is its reliance on objective data gathered from wearables, rather than self-reported information from participants.

The study aligns with the World Health Organization’s Global Guidelines on Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour, which were released concurrently.

These guidelines recommend 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week to counteract sedentary behavior.


The researchers acknowledge that certain gaps in knowledge remain, such as the precise threshold for “too much sitting.”

With ongoing research, more information will emerge, enabling us to better understand how to maintain our health while spending extended periods at a desk.

In the meantime, even small adjustments can make a difference. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, engaging in activities with children or pets, practicing yoga, doing household chores, and walking or cycling are all ways to incorporate physical activity into our daily lives.

If managing the recommended 30-40 minutes seems daunting, starting small is a valuable first step. Any level of physical activity is better than none.

By adopting more active habits and striving to meet the recommended exercise thresholds, we can safeguard our health and counterbalance the adverse effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

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