The American Heart Association recommends adults get 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. However, about 80% of Americans do not meet this recommendation. As previous research has shown a link between prolonged sitting with increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and premature death, researchers investigated what small changes we can make that may provide a health benefit.
Researches at the University of Utah School of Medicine used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which asked participants to wear accelerometers to measure their activity. Based on the accelerometer readings, researchers were able to categorize how many minutes per hour were spent sedentary (less than 100 accelerometer counts per hour), low (100-499), light (501-2019), and moderate to vigorous activity (over 2020). Researchers found no benefit to replacing 2 minutes of sedentary activity with low activity, such as standing instead of sitting. However, when they traded 2 minutes of sedentary activity with 2 minutes of light activity, such as walking or cleaning, a 33% reduction in premature death was noted.
These 2 minute increases in activity can add up over the week. Assuming a person is awake for 16 hours per day, by adding 2 more minutes of activity each hour, they will add over 30 minutes of light activity per day, and over 220 minutes per week. This increase of light activity should not be meant to replace regular moderate to vigorous activity, which provide an added benefit of strengthening the heart, muscles, and bones. However, adding 2 minutes of light activity per hour may seem like an achievable goal for many Americans, and it may be especially motivating if it can provide a benefit as suggested by the research.
The above is provided by Dr. Shillingford, MD, a South Florida based surgeon specializing in advanced laparoscopic surgeries including lap band, gastric sleeve, and gastric bypass. Dr. Shillingford believes in the importance of keeping up with an exercise regimen after weight loss surgery in order to achieve optimal health.