This is how much exercise you should be doing if you’ve got an office job

Live for longer by doing this amount of exercise each day

Live for longer by doing this amount of exercise each day

So we all know that a sedentary lifestyle isn’t good for you, but did you know that it could actually kill you?

The link between a lack of physical activity and increased rates of mortality have long been known, but according to a study published last year, the risk of premature death increases 5% with each additional hour spent sitting down.

Worried? Don’t be. The good news is that there is a way to counterbalance the negative impact caused by sitting down eight hours a day at your desk – exercise.

The bad news, however, is that it’s more than you think. Despite previous guidelines from the World Health Organisation stating that 150 minutes a week (or 30 minutes a day) is all you need to stay healthy, recent studies have found that you need to undertake at least an hour each day.

According to research conducted by Professor Ulf Ekelund from the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences and Cambridge University, doing one hour’s exercise a day will offset the increased risk of death associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

An hour might sound like a lot, but you don’t have to bust a gut in order to achieve it. Prof Ekelund found that moderate intensity exercise, such as walking at 5.6km/h or cycling at 16km/h was enough to counterbalance the negative effects of sitting for so long each day.

You don’t need to do the full hour in one go either. According to Prof Ekelund, you can split it up over the day, but you do need to do at least one hour. Cycling to and from work, a brisk walk at lunch and climbing the stairs at home all count towards getting your sixty minutes, so there’s no need to panic if you don’t have a gym membership.

At the moment, it’s been found that almost half of women and one third of men in the UK are failing to achieve the previously recommended 30 minutes of exercise each day.

Unsurprisingly, researchers have called for the Government to introduce a change in policies to encourage people to get active, such as placing bus stops further apart, closing streets to cars at weekends and opening free gyms in public parks.

Employers have also been recommended to make adjustments too, such as increasing the distance staff have to walk to communal kitchens and toilets. These changes aren’t solely for their employees benefit, either. Physical inactivity is estimated to cost the UK £1.7bn a year in healthcare and lost productivity, meaning that it’s in their interests to get you up and active.

Looks like we’d better get moving then…

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