New Swedish research has found that everyday physical activity, such as walking and household chores, could be enough to reduce the risk of fatal cardiovascular disease by around 24 per cent.
Carried out by researchers from the Karolinska Institutet, the long-term study looked at 851 participants across Sweden to analyze how different levels of physical activity affected the risk of mortality from cardiovascular diseases (the primary cause of death in Sweden) and other causes over a 15-year period.
The activity level of the participants was measured using motion trackers and then compared with data on deaths and causes of death from Swedish registries.
"This is a unique study, since we've been able to analyze a large number of people with objective measures of physical activity for up to 15 years," says study leader Maria Hagströmer, senior lecturer at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society. "Previous studies asked participants about levels of physical activity, but this can lead to reporting error since it's hard to remember exactly for how long one has been sitting and moving around."
After taking into account factors that may affect results such as age, sex, smoking habits, educational level, and previous diseases, the team found that replacing half an hour's sedentariness a day with everyday, low-level physical activity such as standing, walking, and household tasks, could reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by an estimated 24 per cent.
In addition, replacing sedentariness with moderate-high level physical activity, such as a brisk walk, or higher intensity training, had an even greater effect on cardiovascular-related mortality, with ten minutes of moderate to intense activity a day reducing the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease by 38 per cent, and 30 minutes a day by a full 77 per cent, according to the team's calculations.
In line with previous studies which have also found a link between sedentary time and mortality risk, first author Ing-Mari Dohrn also commented that, "In an earlier study, we also showed that people who sit still for more than 10 hours a day have a 2.5 times higher risk of early death than people who sit for less than 6.5 hours a day."
The results can be found published online in the journal Clinical Epidemiology.