Fifteen Minutes of Daily Exercise Can Increase Life Expectancy

According to the results of a research study published this Monday, just 15 minutes of exercise a day — about 90 minutes a week — can significantly extend your lifespan.

The study from the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan polled over 416,000 adults about how much exercise they regularly get. The researchers kept track of them for eight years on average and projected their life expectancy based on the resulting data.

The study participants were placed into five groups based on activity level: inactive, low, medium, high or very high activity, and these groups were based on physical activity guidelines for Americans (published by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2008).

Members of the low activity group maintained an average of 92 minutes of activity per week. People in this group reduced their risk of death by 14 percent and extended their life expectancy by three years compared to the inactive group.

Roughly 54 percent of the participants in the study were classified as inactive, which means they engage in no physical activity beyond normal movement of daily life, such as walking slowly and lifting small objects.

Dr. Chi-Pang Wen of the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan stated, “In Taiwan, if inactive individuals engage in low-volume daily exercise, one in six all-cause deaths could be postponed — mortality reductions of similar magnitude have been estimated for a successful tobacco control program in the general population.”

Dr. Anil Nigam and Dr. Martin Juneau, of the Montreal Heart Institute and Universite de Montreal in Quebec have also said, “The knowledge that as little as 15 minutes per day of exercise on most days of the week can substantially reduce an individual’s risk of dying could encourage many more individuals to incorporate a small amount of physical activity into their busy lives.”

They added, “Governments and health professionals both have major roles to play to spread this good news story and convince people of the importance of being at least minimally active.”

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