Many office workers spend eight or more hours a day at a desk, unable to move. It turns out that going to the gym for 30 minutes before or after work is not enough to make up for hours of sitting, a UCLA study said .
The study released last week indicates that it takes more than 30 minutes of exercise to counteract sitting.
“Many people thought they would be fine if they also squeezed in a 30-minute jog, and that’s just not what research shows us," Burt Cowgill, an assistant adjunct professor with the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, said.
According to UCLA, breaking up long periods of sitting with movement at least once an hour reduces those risks, while regular exercise at other times of day does not.
The study focused on how college students find that it's socially unacceptable to get up and walk around during long lectures. The study's authors say that students should be encouraged to move to break up long periods of sitting.
“A cultural change has to take place — that it’s OK to take a stretch break, to stand up during a lecture, to fidget when needed — it’s ‘good’ for health’s sake,” Angelia Leung from the UCLA Department of World Arts & Cultures/Dance said. “My students have an advantage because dance classes naturally involve movement, but we can extend these benefits to any class on campus with something as simple as short stretching breaks — no dancing required.”
The authors of the study said, "Take hourly breaks to stand and stretch during long classes; include more small-group activities that require moving to switch desks; and create more open classrooms with space to walk without squeezing past fellow students and room to install standing desk areas."
Getting up and moving around could help reduce the risk of heart disease and related illnesses.