avoid prolonged sitting

More Context: Study Offers Guidance to Avoid Prolonged Sitting

Well-run workplace wellness programs offer guidance and engagement around getting employees to avoid prolonged sitting. As we reported yesterday, a new question may be: “Do you have two minutes?”

We noted the Journal of the American Heart Association study titled “Moderate‐to‐Vigorous Physical Activity and All‐Cause Mortality: Do Bouts Matter?” It has good information for well-run workplace wellness programs or employees who need opportunities for exercise.

The authors write: “The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults accumulate at least 150 min/wk of moderate or 75 min/wk of vigorous‐intensity physical activity for substantial health benefits. The guidelines also direct that activity be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes. The 10‐minute bout criterion originated in 1995 and was intended to provide flexibility in achieving the recommended dose.”

However, the authors explain why this time frame may be in question — and why the study matters:

“This messaging shift emphasized the importance of accumulating a total volume of moderate‐to‐vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and has remained a central feature of guidelines as they evolved. Surprisingly, evidence supporting a minimum bout of 10 minutes is limited. Recent studies comparing MVPA accumulated in bouts to total minutes regardless of bouts suggest that bouts provide no additional benefit regarding metabolic syndrome, waist circumference, and body mass index. However, these studies are limited to cross‐sectional designs that evaluated risk factors, making it difficult to understand the temporal sequence for the observed associations or the influence of MVPA bouts on end points, such as all‐cause mortality. Thus, whether only bouts or total accumulated MVPA is more beneficial to mortality remains uncertain.”

The authors add: “This prospective study examined the relative benefits of bouted versus sporadic MVPA on mortality in a representative sample of US adults, using an objective measure of physical activity. Greater total MVPA was strongly associated with lower mortality, and bouted activity conferred little additional benefit. Thus, these results provide evidence that mortality risk reductions associated with MVPA are independent of how activity is accumulated. These results can inform the development of the second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and other recommendations.”

The conclusion: Despite the historical notion that physical activity needs to be performed for a minimum duration to elicit meaningful health benefits, we provide novel evidence that sporadic and bouted MVPA are similarly associated with substantially reduced mortality. This finding can inform future physical activity guidelines and guide clinical practice when advising individuals about the benefits of physical activity. Practitioners can promote either long single or multiple shorter episodes of activity in advising adults on how to progress toward 150 min/wk of MVPA. This flexibility may be particularly valuable for individuals who are among the least active and likely at greater risk for developing chronic conditions.”

Important information for well-run workplace wellness programs.