Heard the claim that sitting is the new smoking? While that statement isn’t entirely accurate, there is absolutely evidence linking a sedentary lifestyle to a shorter lifespan – but did you know the solution doesn’t have to involve daily marathons or stressful bootcamps? Surprising new research indicates it could be as simple as a quick burst of exercise.
Most of us are sitting for a whopping 10 hours a day – and is it any surprise when you consider how many of us find ourselves tethered to desks, stuck in traffic, or indulging in Netflix binges every day? The risks associated with prolonged sitting are all too real – health issues like obesity, heart disease, and cancer are lurking in the shadows and taking the lives of more and more people every year. But a glimmer of hope shines through with a new study, revealing a simple solution that can counteract the deadly effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Researchers have found that just 22 minutes of exercise a day can significantly lower the risk of early death associated with excessive sitting - but how did they come to this conclusion? Well, the study involved data from a two research projects involving approximately 12,000 participants aged 50 or older who wore wearable devices to track their daily activity levels. Over a follow-up period of at least two years, these people were monitored from 2003 to 2020. Yeah, that’s a long study!
The researchers didn't merely focus on exercise but also considered lifestyle and health factors like alcohol consumption, smoking habits, and previous medical histories, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. They then connected this comprehensive data with national death registries to draw their conclusions. The result? An in-depth look into the effects of our lifestyles on our health, and a surprising revelation around what it takes to slash our risk for disease.
Out of all participants, 805 died during the follow-up period, but the most alarming revelation was that those who remained sedentary for over 12 hours daily faced a 38% higher risk of death compared to those who spent eight hours sitting - just 4 hours makes all the difference. However, this dire increase in risk was observed only among those who engaged in less than 22 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day, while those who managed more than 22 minutes of daily exercise saw their risk drop significantly, to a level akin to those who spent eight hours a day in sedentary pursuits.
This study is a promising testament to the power of daily physical activity. It suggests that even in the face of our sedentary habits, dedicating just over 20 minutes to exercise can be a life-extending choice. So, if you've been contemplating whether to take that brisk walk, hit the gym, or engage in any activity that gets your heart pumping, let this study be your motivation. It might just be the key to outsmarting the dangers of too much sitting and securing a longer, healthier life. Just because it's not an hour-long session, doesn't mean it's not making all the difference.
But there’s something even more transformative you can do for your health – cut out ultra-processed foods and focus on a diet rich in whole, nutrient-rich foods. Research from the University of Sydney found that high-intensity exercise cannot offset an unhealthy diet – but that doesn’t negate the importance of exercise! The study found that a combination of a quality diet and exercise is ideal for a longer life span and lower risk for disease. With rates of obesity having tripled since 1975 and over 1.9 billion people living with this condition, it’s is one of the major health crises affecting the public. Studies prove that excessive sugar intake is a contributing factor in obesity. This is for a number of reasons, including the fact that it leads to the development of visceral fat – this is the kind that surrounds the abdominal organs and puts people at higher risk for diabetes, heart disease and liver disease. So, it’s essential that we swap sugary snacks for whole foods – fuel your body with the following:
- Complex carbs: foods like quinoa and sweet potatoes provide slow-release energy that prevents those 3 o’clock slumps.
- Healthy fats: Avocado, walnuts and flaxseeds are packed with fats that keep you fuller for longer, thus curbing some of the sugar cravings.
- Antioxidants: Add some strawberries, green tea or onions into your diet to help lower you r blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation.
- Fibre: High-fibre foods like whole grains and veggies play a major role in blood-sugar regulation and reducing cravings for junk food.
Need a little help getting your health back on track? Join us for the 8-Week Program and we’ll help you change the way you look at food – and that doesn’t mean you have to follow restrictive diets or miss out on your favourite foods; we believe you can still enjoy delicious food without jeopardising your health. With celebrity chef Sarah Glover on our panel of experts, you’ll have an array of fun recipes at your fingertips, along with our own exclusive armoury of simple, tasty and healthy recipes for everything from daily meals to impressive entertaining. We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
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- Exclusive content from our panel of experts.
So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to join. We’d love to help you get started on your health journey. Sign up HERE today!