There are some daily activities that are often overlooked, but they can actually benefit your health in the process. According to a paper published in JAMA Internal Medicine, a quick daily walk from point A to point B – whether it’s for work, running errands, etc. – is a great way to extend your life. A study of more than 5,000 adults aged 40 to 85 found that exercising for 10, 20 or 30 minutes a day reduced the risk of death by 7, 13 and 17 percent.
“The potential public health benefits of changing physical activity routines in manageable amounts are not yet known. In this study, we used accelerometer measurements to examine the association between physical activity and mortality in a population-based sample of U.S. adults,” the authors write in their paper. “These findings support the implementation of evidence-based strategies to improve physical activity and potentially reduce mortality in adults.”
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Based on their findings, the team found that when people engage in 10 minutes of physical activity per day, 111,174 fewer deaths are prevented each year. When people exercised for 20 minutes and 30 minutes, 209,459 and 367,037 fewer deaths were prevented. The researchers arrived at these results after following the study participants for 10 years, during which time 1,165 deaths occurred. They used the PAF (population attributable fraction (PAF) to calculate the number of annual deaths that could be prevented by a moderate increase in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA).
“Previous studies have shown that a large number of deaths per year can be prevented by increasing the physical activity level of the population,” the researchers said. “However, previous estimates relied on convenience samples, used self-reported physical activity data, and assumed relatively large levels of inactivity – for example, more than 30 minutes per day.”
Overall, the scientists recommend 150 minutes of activity or 75 minutes of moderate or vigorous aerobic exercise per week for optimal health. The authors said, “To our knowledge, this is the first study to use accelerometer-based measurements of U.S. adults to estimate the number of deaths preventable through physical activity, while recognizing that increased activity may not be appropriate for everyone.”