Can 20 Minutes of Daily Exercise Offset Risk from Sedentary Lifestyle?

Can 20 Minutes of Daily Exercise Offset Risk from Sedentary Lifestyle?

Do you know that just 20 minutes of daily exercise can help reduce your risk of getting sick? Read on to find out why and how to start with just 20 minutes a day.

Key points

  • Even a small amount of daily exercise can have significant benefits for your health.
  • 20-25 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per day can offset the increased risk of death associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
  • MVPA can be done all at once or in short bursts throughout the day.
  • Some examples of MVPA include brisk walking, running, biking, swimming, and dancing.
  • If you are new to exercise, start slowly and gradually increase the amount of time and intensity of your workouts.

What is sedentary lifestyle?

A sedentary life is one where you spend most of your time in a chair or on your knees. You can work at your desk, watch TV, or play video games. Some of these activities are essential, but sitting for too long can be bad for your health.

Research has shown that if you spend too much time sitting down, you’re more likely to get chronic diseases like heart disease and stroke, as well as type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Sitting for too long can also cause you to gain weight, become overweight, and have other health issues.

The good news is that even a small amount of regular exercise can help to mitigate the hazards associated with sedentary living. In fact, a recent study discovered that as little as 20-25 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) every day can erase the elevated risk of death linked with sedentary living.

Dangers of a sedentary lifestyle

Sedentary life has become a widespread problem, with contemporary conveniences and technology lessening the need for physical activity.

Long durations of sitting can cause weight gain, muscular atrophy, poor circulation, and even an increased risk of chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

It is critical to understand these threats and take proactive measures to mitigate them.

What is moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA)?

MVPA refers to any form of physical exercise that raises your heart rate and causes you to breathe more deeply. It is possible to complete it all at once or in little bursts throughout the day.

Some examples of MVPA include;

  • Brisk walking
  • Running
  • Biking
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Hiking
  • Playing sports

How can 20 minutes of daily exercise offset the risks of a sedentary lifestyle?

When you exercise, your body produces hormones and other compounds that have a variety of health benefits. These include;

  • Reducing inflammation
  • Improving blood sugar control
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Increasing cholesterol levels
  • Strengthening bones and muscles
  • Exercise also helps to improve your mood, sleep, and overall quality of life.

How to get started with 20 minutes of daily exercise?

If you are new to exercise, start slowly and gradually increase the amount of time and intensity of your workouts. Here are a few tips.

  • Choose activities that you enjoy and that fit into your lifestyle.
  • Start with short workouts and gradually increase the duration as you get stronger.
  • Aim for at least 20-25 minutes of MVPA most days of the week.
  • Break up your workouts into shorter sessions throughout the day if that is easier for you.
  • Find a workout buddy or join a fitness class to help you stay motivated.

How much exercise is needed?

Health experts generally recommend doing at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week.

Committing to this quantity of activity, however, may appear difficult to individuals who live sedentary lives. The good news is that research indicates that shorter workouts can also be useful.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity exercise?

Moderate intensity exercises are all types of activities that cause you to breathe more deeply, yet allow you to speak in complete sentences. Vigorous intensity exercise is any activity that causes you to breathe so hard that you can only say a few words at a time.

How can I tell if I am getting enough exercise?

A heartrate monitor or fitness tracker is a good way of knowing if you’re getting an adequate amount of exercise. By keeping a record of your exercise, you may also be able to see how far you have come. In the majority of working days, aim for 25 to 30 minutes of MVPA.

What are some examples of moderate-intensity exercise?

For example, brisk walking, bike riding, swimming, dancing and skiing are also examples of moderately intense exercise.


Your health can be significantly influenced by even a little exercise every day. Start adding an extra 25 minutes of MVPA to your daily schedule, most days of the week, if you are currently living a sedentary lifestyle.

If it’s a little more convenient, you can split up your workout into small training sessions during the day.

When you continue to do so, the amount of time and duration of your exercise will be steadily increased in order to gain additional health benefits.

By Sonam Tobgay

I'm the creator of Healthy Lifestyle blog. I've been fascinated with health related articles and information since 2005 and have spent most of my waking hours consuming health contents from the top professionals in this field. My goal is to share the best tips and news about health, benefits of fruits and vegetables, and other health related issues so you can follow and lead a healthy life.

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