How much exercise should we be doing to improve our health?

The minimum recommended amount of moderate intensity physical activity each week is 150 minutes. However, statistics show that this figure is currently beyond the reach of many Brits. Research into current levels of sedentary behaviour revealed that adults of working age in England average 9.5 hours a day of sedentary behaviour (low-energy activities while either sitting or lying down).

While most of us know that being active is good for our health, evidence shows that spending too much time sitting down can be harmful, even if we exercise regularly. Those who already follow a regular physical activity or exercise programme still need to address the issue of sitting too much each day.

The dangers of a sedentary lifestyle

People who spend long periods of time sitting have been found to have higher rates of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Current Department of Health guidelines suggest that we should reduce the amount of time we spend sitting and break up seated periods by getting for five minutes every half hour.

Sedentary people can greatly reduce their risk of mortality with relatively minor increments in physical activity. A US study of more than 250,000 adults aged 51-70 found that less than an hour of moderate physical activity (equivalent to a brisk walk) a week cut the risk of early death by 15%, while a review of six studies recorded a 19% decrease in the risk of early death among people walking for up to 74 minutes a week compared with those who did nothing.

Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England, says: “Everyone needs to be active every day. Bouts of 10 or more minutes of physical activity have proven health benefits, but getting 150 minutes or more of moderate intensity activity every week is the amount we need to positively impact on a range of health conditions.”

How Medigold Health can help

Occupational health provider Medigold Health works with UK businesses to help make their workforces more active through health surveillance, workshops, health fairs, onsite gym management and health coaching. Our health surveillance programmes often lead to increased energy and productivity levels as well as reducing short and long-term sickness absence.

If you want to encourage your employees to sit less and exercise more, contact occupational health provider Medigold Health today.

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