(HealthDay News) — Just 1 hour of physical activity a day — something as simple as a brisk walk or a bicycle ride — may undo the increased mortality risk that comes with sitting 8 hours or more on a daily basis, according to research published online in The Lancet.

In a review of 16 previously published studies that included more than one million people, the researchers divided the participants into 4 groups: those who got about 5 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a day; 25 to 35 minutes a day; 50 to 65 minutes day; and 60 to 75 minutes a day.

The increased mortality risk ranged from 12 to 59%, depending on how much exercise the participants got, the findings showed. “Indeed, those belonging to the most active group, and who are active about 60 to 75 minutes per day, seem to have no increased risk of mortality, even if they sit for more than 8 hours a day,” lead researcher Ulf Ekelund, PhD, of the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo, told HealthDay.

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The team also found that watching television for 3 hours or more a day was linked with an increased mortality risk, regardless of physical activity — except among those who were the most physically active. However, even among those who exercised the most, the mortality risk was significantly increased if they watched 5 hours of television a day or more, the researchers added.

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1. Ekelund U, Steene-Johannessen J, Brown WJ, et al. Does physical activity attenuate, or even eliminate, the detrimental association of sitting time with mortality? A harmonised meta-analysis of data from more than 1 million men and women. Lancet. 2016 Jul 27. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30370-1.
2. Das P and Horton R. Physical activity—time to take it seriously and regularly. Lancet. 2016 Jul 27. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31070-4.