In addition to bringing the global economy to a halt, the pandemic has also brought a lot of physical activity to a standstill — an unfavorable trend for the health of our bodies. A new study, however, shows that even relatively tiny amounts of exercise during the day can go a long way in offsetting some of the harmful health impacts of a sedentary lifestyle such as one that involves hours of sitting.
Conducted by scientists at Columbia University, the study consists of a meta-analysis of nine other studies tracking nearly 45,000 people. The analysis found that even when people sat as much as 8.5 hours a day, just 11 minutes of moderate exercise significantly reduced the risk of premature death typically associated with sedentary lifestyles.
To count as moderate-to-vigorous, the exercise needs to be the equivalent of brisk walking or biking and it doesn’t need to happen all at once. As shown by previous studies, short bouts of exercise throughout the day can also do the trick as long as you get enough of it overall.
“It doesn’t matter if you accrue it in 30 minutes or one-minute bouts over 30 occasions,” says Keith Diaz, one of the coauthors of the study. “The guidelines historically used to recommend that it had to be 10 minutes or more time, and we found that that’s just not the case. Any movement, no matter what duration, is beneficial, as long as you accrue enough of it.”