While the study estimated the degree to which the risk of dying from any cause could be cut by swapping sitting for movement, it did not look at specific health-related outcomes.

Swapping just 30 minutes of sitting time with physical activity of any intensity or amount, may help reduce the risk of early death, a study claims. The study highlights the importance of movement regardless of its intensity or amount of time spent moving for better health. “Our findings underscore an important public health message that physical activity of any intensity provides health benefits,” said Keith Diaz, assistant professor at Columbia University in the US.

About one in four adults spends more than eight hours a day sitting, researchers said. The study included 7,999 individuals, age 45 and older, who took part in an investigation of racial and regional disparities in stroke between 2009 and 2013. The individuals wore activity monitors for at least four days to record the amount and intensity of physical activity they engaged in while awake.

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The researchers tabulated the death rate among participants through 2017. Using this data, they estimated how substituting time spent sitting with time being physically active would affect risk of early death. The study found that replacing just 30 minutes of sitting with low-intensity physical activity would lower the risk of early death by 17 per cent, a statistically significant decrease.

Swapping the same amount of sitting for moderate to vigorous activity would be twice as effective, cutting the risk of early death by 35 per cent. The researchers also found that short bursts of activity — of just a minute or two — provided a health benefit.

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