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Article by Sylvie Martin

Why should you take the minimum recommended exercise?

Updated on 21 December 2023.

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inactivite-physiqueScientific researchers have long been studying the negative impact of sedentary habits such as physical inactivity on human health.

Indeed, obesity and overweight, like many other factors such as smoking or poor sleep, represent high-risk factors that can lead to numerous chronic diseases.

Clearly, a healthy diet and a minimum of physical activity are the key to getting rid of excess weight and staying in good shape.

The question is: what is minimum physical activity?

What is the minimum amount of physical activity required to stay in shape?

According to researchers, this minimum corresponds to 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. In fact, according to official health authorities, an adult should perform at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week, with at least two sessions of intense activity.

However, the ideal would be to exercise for 300 minutes.

This guideline is based on the assumption that we all engage in physical activity informal every day (walking, shopping, going up and down stairs, etc.).

However, this case does not apply to everyone. Some of us have a more more sedentary lifestyle that forces them to move less. Office work and technology, with all the comforts it brings, have put an end to any kind of physical effort.

According to these researchers, a person who spends his or her day sitting at work or at home, even going to the gym from time to time, is more likely to contract a chronic disease than someone who is active.

What is physical inactivity?

work-at-the-office-example-physical-inactivityPhysical inactivity is simply when you’re not on your feet or moving around. In other words, it’s when you’re in a state of inertia.

Sitting at a desk, watching TV or driving around are all examples of physical inactivity.

The number of hours we spend sitting, and the duration of these periods of inactivity, tend to impair our health. And even those who respect the minimum health guidelines of 150 minutes a week are not immune to the dangers of prolonged physical inactivity.

What are the risks of physical inactivity?

Physical inactivity can affect our health in a number of ways.

It can affect blood sugar, insulin, HDL (good cholesterol), triglycerides, weight and blood pressure.

Studies have demonstrated the causal link between prolonged inactivity and cardiovascular disease.

Other studies have also investigated the relationship between inactivity and the risk of premature death.

In conclusion, the more physically inactive you are, the higher your risk of developing chronic diseases.

How can you reduce physical inactivity at home and at work?

Cycling to workThere’s no general rule to define the limits of physical inactivity. But it is advisable to spend at least 1 to 2 minutes per hour on your feet, in addition to the 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity.
If your lifestyle is sedentary, you can take advantage of the following tips to improve your health and stay active during your day.

Don’t forget to aim for a daily goal that you should gradually revise upwards.

  • Walk in the park near your building;
  • Use public transport;
  • Stand up as much as possible when working in the office;
  • Hold meetings standing up instead of sitting down;
  • Take a walk after lunch;
  • Walk to your colleague’s office instead of sending an e-mail;
  • Stand or walk while talking on the phone;
  • Drink plenty of water, which will help you make more trips to the toilet;
  • Do group or individual activities instead of sitting in front of the TV (play with the kids, go for a walk, stretch the lawn, clean the house, wash the car, walk the dog, etc.).

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