Thirty minutes of physical activity during the day so that you become easily short of breath, several National Boards of Health often recommend for adults between 18 and 64.
But half an hour of physical exertion is not enough if you earn money by sitting most of the day in an office chair in front of your PC screens.
That is the conclusion of a Finnish study based on 3,702 men and women with predominantly sedentary work. Much more is needed if you are one of those office workers who tend to throw yourself on the sofa when you get home.
Because even after half an hour of active training, the 'couch potatoes' blood sugar, cholesterol, and fat percentage elevates, the test results showed.
The study test subjects had to wear activity trackers for a week, dividing into four control groups based on how much physical activity they practised during the day.
The groups consisted of 'active couch potatoes', sedentary office workers with light activity, sedentary office workers who exercise, and office workers active in training.
Even the prescribed half hour of physical activity during the working day can end up
in nothing if you return home from the office and throw yourself on the sofa - lying
with the remote control in your hand for the rest of the evening. Photos: iStock
The last three groups, who exercised to varying degrees, all fared better in the medical tests than the sedentary office workers who did not engage in significant physical activity after the workday.
The conclusion shows that even if you exercise a little as recommended but throw yourself on the sofa when you get home, the result of your 30 minutes of physical activity will end up being next to nothing.
Even more desk jobs with even more hours in front of PC screens, long commutes and screen-based entertainment at home have led to significant declines in the physical activity levels of office workers over the past decades.
The behaviour change threatens their cardiovascular (heart-vessel) health, increasing their risk of heart diseases, obesity epidemic, high blood pressure, poor circulation, etc.
"If you want to benefit your health, you´ll need to do activities where you use your
entire body that will get your heart rate up," a Danish professor of physiology says.
"It is only recently that we have begun to understand that physical activity in itself does not necessarily compensate for sedentary work," Raija Korpelainen, professor at the University of Oulu and co-author of the Finnish report, points out.
"Similar studies of sedentary work and activity levels confirm that employees sitting for more than eight hours a day without physical activity carry the same risk of premature death as that associated with obesity and smoking."
Pulse MUST rise
"If you want to achieve significantly improved health, it's about having variety in your everyday life about physical activity and compensating with targeted training in your free time," Karen Søgaard, a Danish professor of occupational physiology, emphasizes.
"If you want to benefit your health, you´ll need a lot of variety, i.e. doing something including your entire body with movements that really will bring your heart rate up." ●
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