The more time you spend physically inactive during the day, the greater your risk for a variety of health problems—a lot of research shows that. But a new observational study in Annals of Internal Medicine found that being sedentary is even more risky if a person is inactive for long, interrupted bouts of 30 minutes or longer.
Researchers equipped 7,985 men and women (ages 45 or older) with hip-mounted activity trackers for a week. The devices counted total sedentary time and the length of each bout of inactivity. People who remained inactive for more than 12.5 hours of the day and accrued that time in bouts of 60 to 90 or more minutes were at greatest risk of death from any cause over the 4-year study period. But those who got up and moved around at least every 30 minutes were at lower risk.
It’s best to avoid being inactive, of course, but this study suggests that even those who are at rest most of their days—office workers, for example—can reduce their risk by getting up to move around every 30 minutes.