The health value of regular exercise is well documented, but it is increasingly clear that it cannot completely balance out the detrimental health effects of extended periods of sedentary activity. Research published recently in the British Journal of Sports Medicine highlights the value of being active even when you’re not working out.
The research investigated the effects of the amount of non-exercise physical activity (more active than sitting but less intense than “exercise”) in 4232 randomly selected 60-year-olds. Each completed an activity questionnaire and underwent medical screening tests at the outset and was then followed for an average of 12.5 years.
The more non-exercise physical activity an individual reported, the more likely that person was to be slimmer, have better blood levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol and triglycerides, and not to have metabolic syndrome. This was true regardless of how much exercise a person reported getting.
In the years following the assessment people who had reported more non-exercise physical activity were less likely to suffer a first cardiovascular disease event or die than people who had reported less non-exercise physical activity.