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What 22 minutes of exercise a day does to your body

What 22 minutes of exercise a day does to your body
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Image: VOLKER WEIHBOLD

22 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per day is enough to offset the negative effects of a primarily sedentary lifestyle. This is the result of a study recently published by Norwegian scientists in the “British Journal of Sports Medicine”. A largely inactive everyday life means an almost 40 percent higher risk of death.

The data comes from a study of 11,989 people over the age of 50. Their movement patterns were also technically registered. About half of the subjects spent more than 10.5 hours per day sitting, the other half were more active. The average observation time was 5.2 years, reported Edvard Sagelv from the Norwegian University of Tromso and his co-authors (DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2022-106568).

Risk of death decreases

A total of 6.7 percent of the test subjects died during the observation period. In any case, the evaluation of the mortality data showed that physical activity had a compensating effect on a predominantly sedentary lifestyle: more than twelve hours of inactivity per day meant a 38 percent higher mortality than a lifestyle in which those affected spent fewer than eight hours per day sitting.

The important caveat: A sedentary lifestyle only had a negative effect if it was offset by less than 22 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical exertion per day. “Just 10 minutes of physical activity per day was associated with a 15 percent lower risk of death among those who spent less than 10.5 hours per day sitting, and a 35 percent lower risk among those who spent more than 10, according to the analysis “Spent 5 hours a day sitting,” wrote the German Medical Journal.

The effect of sufficient physical activity has been proven by numerous scientific studies for years. According to this, 150 to 300 compensatory sports per week reduce the mortality of people compared to physically inactive people by around 40 percent,” reported the Lower Austrian sports doctor Markus Nehrer at a conference in the spring. In Austria, for example, 77 percent of men over 55 years of age never or only do it rarely do sports, as do 76 percent of women in this age group.

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