Hour’s dog walking may reduce risk of premature death
Could one hour of dog walking a day help to offset the risk of premature death linked to a sedentary lifestyle?
That is the thinking of researchers from the University of Cambridge who have conducted a study into the impact of activity and inactivity.
In a study published in the Lancet, researchers asked authors of 16 existing papers to reanalyse their data.
The team grouped individuals depending on how active they were, ranging from less than five minutes per day to over 60 minutes per day.
Moderate intensity exercise was defined as equating to walking at 3.5 miles/hour or cycling at 10 miles/hour.
The researchers found that around 60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per day were sufficient to offset the increased risk of early death associated with sitting for over eight hours per day. However, as many as three out of four people in the study failed to reach this level of daily activity.
“There has been a lot of concern about the health risks associated with today’s more sedentary lifestyles,” says Professor Ulf Ekelund from the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge. “Our message is a positive one: it is possible to reduce – or even eliminate – these risks if we are active enough, even without having to take up sports or go to the gym.
“For many people who commute to work and have office-based jobs, there is no way to escape sitting for prolonged periods of time. For these people in particular, we cannot stress enough the importance of getting exercise, whether it’s getting out for a walk at lunchtime, going for a run in the morning or cycling to work.
“An hour of physical activity per day is the ideal, but if this is unmanageable, then at least doing some exercise each day can help reduce the risk.”
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