Relatively Brief Physical Activity Can Offset Adverse Effects of Prolonged Sitting Interview with:

Ulf Ekelund, PhD FACSM Professor Department of Sports Medicine Norwegian School of Sport Sciences

Prof. Ulf Ekelund

Ulf Ekelund, PhD FACSM
Department of Sports Medicine
Norwegian School of Sport Sciences What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: It is known that long sitting hours may be detrimental to health and previous studies have suggested associations between sitting time and all-cause mortality.However, it is not known whether physical activity can eliminate the increased risk of death associated with long sitting time.

We found that at least one hour of physical activity every day appear to offset the increased risk associated with more than eight hours of sitting. We also found that those who were physically inactive and sat for less than 4 hours every day were at greater risk compared with those who were physically active and sat for more than 8 hours providing further evidence on the benefits of physical activity. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: If you have to sit for long hours during work or transportation it is particular important to also try to be physically active. A little is better than nothing and more than hour of activity appear to offset the increased risk of activity. You do not have to take up sport or go to the gym. Activities such as brisk walking or bicycling are fine. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Our results are based on studies from developed countries including North America, Europe, Japan and Australia and it is unknown whether these associations are similar in developing countries. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: The take home message is physical activity is one of the best cures for almost all non-communicable diseases and  people should be encouraged to sit less and move more and the more the better. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Does physical activity attenuate, or even eliminate, the detrimental association of sitting time with mortality? A harmonised meta-analysis of data from more than 1 million men and women

Ekelund, Ulf et al.
The Lancet , Volume 0 , Issue 0
July 27, 2016

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on July 29, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD