An hour’s exercise a day can reduce risk of early death

An hour’s exercise a day can help eliminate the reduced risk of early death associated with sitting for more than eight hours a day, according to a new study.

The research, published in medical journal The Lancet, found that 60 to 75-minutes of “moderate exercise” was sufficient. 

"Moderate exercise” was defined as equivalent to walking at 3.5 miles/hour (5.6km/hour) or cycling at 10 miles/hour (16km/hour).

Researchers analysed 16 different studies, comprising data from more than 1 million men and women to arrive at the results.

They found that three out of four study participants failed to achieve the “moderate” exercise levels on a daily basis.

The report found that the greatest health risk was to those who were physically inactive, regardless of the amount of time they spent sitting.

Those who are physically inactive were found to have between a 28% and a 59% greater risk of early death, similar to smokers and the obese.

Lead scientist professor Rolf Ulf Ekelund from the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge said: “There has been a lot of concern about the health risks associated with today’s more sedentary lifestyles.

“Our message is a positive one: it is possible to reduce, or even eliminate, these risks if we are active enough, even without having to take up sports or go to the gym.

“For many people who commute to work and have office-based jobs, there is no way to escape sitting for prolonged periods of time. For these people in particular, we cannot stress enough the importance of getting exercise.”

The data was largely derived from people over the age of 45, living in western Europe, the US and Australia.