Lack of Exercise and Sitting Will Kill You
Wow seems to make sense. If you do not exercise and if you sit all day long you are going to die earlier than those that move and exercise. But did I just make that up or is there a basis to that assumption?
There were two studies that came out in the last couple days that seem to be very interesting in that they confirm in one way something we already knew, but in another surprised me as well as I bet a lot of others.
Giant European Study on Exercise and Health
First the expected. There was a giant european study of 334,000 people where the test subjects were followed for a period of 12 years (no reason for double blind, placebo controlled study here). The study measured lots of things including height, weight, waist circumference and self-reported levels of physical activity.
So what did this study find? Well even a little exercise, the example was a 20 minute brisk walk a day (90-110 calories burned), could lower the chance of early death by 30%. The results were seen mostly in people that were a healthy weight but also in people that are overweight.
So as expected some exercise makes a huge difference in health over the long term. With a study this big it would be interesting to see what difference it made to people that started obese and started exercising regularly for over a year. I bet they could dig this info from all that data.
The study was just publushed in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Study On Sedentary Lifestyles and Exercise
The second study was a little shocking to me and this was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The study was a meta-study, which means that the conclusions were made by looking at a whole bunch of studies and seeing what results can be gleaned from there.
The study looked at the results of 47 different studies on the effect of a mainly sedentary lifestyle on disease.
The shocking result to me is that the results seemed to show that even people that exercised regularly and have desk jobs seem to still have a higher average risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and early death.
I had always expected that getting exercise, like in the study above, would make a big difference in health but apparently it may not be enough of a difference.
Those who engage in regular physical activity but still spend a large proportion of their day in sedentary activity were found, on average, to be 30% less likely to die of any cause in a given period than were those who get little to no exercise.
But even those who punctuate a long day of sitting with a vigorous workout were estimated to be 16% more likely to die of any cause in a given time than were those who do not sit for long.
What Can We Learn From These Studies?
These two studies are a great basis to look at how we live and how exercise should be a part of our lifestyle. The way I look it, as a guy that works a desk job, is tht we should all be getting at least some exercise. You don’t need a lot of exercise but at least make sure that you are getting a good long walk or workout everyday (at lunch maybe?).
Also the whole idea of sitting at your desk and just digging away at work is bad anyway.
The best way to work according to the Pomodoro technique is to work for 45 minutes and then get up and away from work for 15 minutes. This system means that you get lots of work done and get very focussed time at your desk and theat you also get away and get the exercise and seperation that your mind and body both need to be healthy