Datum 2021-04-15
Artikeltyp News

New study: sitting has increased by 40 minutes a day during the pandemic

This article was written before our official name change on January 1, 2022 from Mälardalen University (MDH) to Mälardalen University (MDU).

Our working and studying more from home during the pandemic is having a great effect on how we move about. This is shown in a new study that MDH has conducted together with Novus.

The time that Swedes set aside for moderately strenuous activity (when you become short of breath) has decreased by on average 100 minutes per week compared with before the pandemic. The time for very strenuous activities (such as running) has decreased by half an hour per week. And sitting has increased by 40 minutes a day.

– Longer periods of sitting, regardless of how physically active we are otherwise, involve health risks. Today many people sit for large parts of their waking hours. Replacing some of this sitting by walking or doing some household task reaps great health benefits, says Maria Elvén, Ph.D in Physiotherapy at MDH and one of the researchers behind the study.

Information about how sitting can decrease despite restrictions – important

But there are ways to counteract the negative effects that decreased physical activity and sitting have on health. According to the researchers, more information is required for example about the health risks of physical inactivity, and support for how we can decrease our sitting and be physically active despite the restrictions.

– Here good examples should be highlighted. There is a need for target group adapted guidelines – different solutions for different people, of all ages – about how good habits can be formed and maintained. Better opportunities for physical activity and breaks from sitting, when working from home as well as at the place of work, are needed, says Jonas Stier, Professor of Social Work at MDH and one of the researchers behind the study.

Study of the corona pandemic’s effects on people’s health

The new study, which has been carried out by MDH in conjunction with Novus, is part of a larger, comparative study of the corona pandemic’s effects on people’s health, wellbeing and outlook on the future. The comparative study is taking place in cooperation between an interdisciplinary research group at the School of Health, Care and Social Welfare at MDH, the Institute for Futures Studies, the University of Dalarna as well as a number of international universities.

– This venture is completely right, and at the School we have broad competence to illustrate the complexity of the corona pandemic's effect on people, groups and social sustainability, says Jonas Stier.

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