Want to live longer? Researchers say that light exercise for as little as 15 minutes a day can extend your lifespan. The study revealed that those that worked out for more than 30 minutes a day added about four years to their lifespan, but those that those that exercised for at least 15 minutes a day had their mortality rate dropped by 14%. In addition, for every additional 15 minutes of exercise per day, for up to 100 minutes, risk of death dipped by 4%.
Those that took part in the study had to complete a questionnaire on their medical history, their lifestyle information, and how they would rate the intensity of their workout from the previous month. The intensity ranged from light (walking), moderate (brisk walking), vigorous (jogging), or high vigorous (running). Researchers also took their physical activity at work into account in the questionnaire.
“Those in the low activity group, who exercised for an average of 92 minutes per week, or 15 minutes a day, had a 14-percent reduced risk of death, a 10-percent reduction in cancer mortality, a 20-percent reduction in cardiovascular disease, while seeing their life expectancy go up by three years, compared with individuals in the inactive group,” lead author Chi-Pang Wen said.
54% of the 416,175 participants that took part in the study said they had less than 1 hour of leisure time physical activity per week.
The World Health Organization recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity to help either maintain or lose weight and help prevent health problems such as a stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
“The 30 minutes a day for five or more days a week has been the golden rule for the last 15 years, but now we found even half that amount could be very beneficial,” Wen told ABC News. “As we all feel, finding a slot of 15 minutes is much easier than finding a 30-minute slot in most days of the week.”
The research was conducted by researchers at the Taiwan Department of Health, the Clinical Trial, and Research Center of Excellence and National Health Research Institutes. Over 400,000 people participated in the medical screening program from 1996-2008. The results were published in The Lancet.