Woah! Office work is deadlier than smoking

Henrietta Brewer
July 29, 2016

Unfortunately, not even half of the men and women in the study achieve this goal.

The health risks associated with sitting for eight or more hours a day - whether at work, home or commuting - can be eliminated with an hour or more of physical activity a day, according to a study from an worldwide team of researchers.

A decent walk - at a speed of just over three miles an hour - was enough to achieve the benefit, he stressed. You don't need to mimic the montage sequence in Rocky, just go for a decent walk. The tipping point, at least in terms of heart health, is 10 or more hours a day, according to a new report published in JAMA Cardiology.

He acknowledged that many people who commuted to work and had office-based jobs could not escape sitting for long periods of time.

Dr. Ding notes that if no action is taken to improve population levels of physical inactivity, the economic burden of physical inactivity is projected to increase globally, predominantly in low- and middle-income countries.

For those who feel they're too busy to take exercise after work, the researchers recommended incorporating more movement into their day.

People who sat for long hours and were inactive had the highest risk of death.

The research also found that sedentary periods also affected the production of hormones, such as leptin, which regulates energy balance by inhibiting hunger.

Among those who sat for at least eight hours daily and managed less than five minutes' activity mortality rates were 9.9 per cent. That is, the hour of activity can be spread out over the entire day.

Physical inactivity is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers, leading to around five million deaths across the world annually. An analysis of data from a million people has found that an hour of moderate physical activity a day is enough to cancel out the deadly effect of working at a desk all day.

So what about binge-watching our favourite TV shows, which can be an even more passive activity than sitting at a computer typing?

Watching television was found to be worse than sitting at a desk, probably because of associated habits such as snacking.

The paper was the first to estimate the monetary cost of the global "pandemic" of inactivity, and was part of a special series timed for release ahead of the August 5 opening of the Rio Olympic Games.

Another study estimated the global economic cost of physical inactivity in 2013 to have been £1.7 billion in the United Kingdom, 27.8 billion dollars (£21 billion) in the U.S. and 805 million Australian dollars (£460.5 million) in Australia.

He also urged workers to do all they could to find time to get moving. "When we realized this about smoking we tackled it - we need to do the same about our office culture", affirmed Steven Ward, executive editor of UK Active. It's been picked up by a number of other news outlets, has been splashed all over search engines and will no doubt join the stream of misleading narrative that distorts the subject and encourages designers to come up with nonsense like this.

So, it's entirely possible you could improve your health by simply strolling to the water cooler a few times each day.

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