A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that people with more sedentary lifestyles were significantly more likely to die young, but just 11 minutes of brisk walking or other mild exercise each day could reduce this early death.
The researchers examined the joint associations of accelerometer-measured physical activity and sedentary time, analyzing nine prospective cohort studies from four countries. A total of 44,370 men and women were followed for 4 to 14.5 years, during which 3,451 participants died (7.8% mortality rate).
The researchers found that the risk of death increased with lower the levels of physical activity. Across the cohorts, the average time spent sedentary was roughly 8.5 to 10.5 hours per day, and the amount of physical activity ranged from 8 minutes to 35 minutes per day. Interestingly, the analysis revealed that roughly 30 to 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day counteracted the effects of a sedentary lifestyle—no matter how long people sat.