Working in an Office Is 'As Bad As Smoking'—But One Hour of Exercise Will Offset Health Risks

An employee views computer screens in an office, London, October 20, 2014. Workplace suicides are rising globally. Carl Court/Getty

Office workers must exercise for one hour a day to combat the deadly risk of modern working lifestyles, a major Lancet study has found.

Research on more than one million adults found that sitting for at least eight hours a day could increase the risk of premature death by up to 60 percent.

Scientists said sedentary lifestyles were now posing as great a threat to public health as smoking, and were causing more deaths than obesity.

They urged anyone spending hours at their desk to change their daily routine to take a five-minute break every hour, as well as exercise at lunchtimes and evenings.

An hour of brisk walking or cycling spread over a day was enough to combat the dangers of eight hours sitting in the office, they said.

Currently, public health advice in the U.K. recommends just half this level of activity. But almost half of women and one third of men fail to achieve even this, according to the report.