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The most comprehensive review of the effects of sedentary behavior on health and risk of death has intensified the call to reduce time spent being sedentary as well as increasing physical activity.
The study determines that the physiological evidence now available should be used to sharpen public health and clinical practice guidelines to extend beyond just the broadly prescribed message to exercise more, and to move towards a more comprehensive message of "sit less, move more and exercise."
So many of us think that if we go for a short walk, a jog, or do a session at the gym after a day sitting at our desks that we're doing as much as we need to for good health, but it's not the case. That's because the benefits of those physical activities depend on how much time you spend sitting.
If, for example, you sat at your desk for hours, but then went out for a jog after work, yes, you'd certainly gain some health benefits from that run, but the nine hours seated during the day drags those health benefits down.
By breaking up sitting throughout the day, you break the accumulation of your sedentary time, which basically restarts the body's engine (our muscles) and lowers risk.
In the same way that the benefits that stem from physical activity depend on how much time is spent sitting, the health risks resulting from excessive sitting also depend on how much physical activity a person undertakes.
That's why the question of how much sitting time you're doing should be asked in conjunction with how much physical activity you're undertaking, and that if you're physically inactive and sitting for long periods, you could initially start with a reduction in sitting time as a pathway to being more active.
We have to sit less, move more and exercise to reduce our health risk.
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