15 minutes of exercise per week is linked to a longer life

15 minutes of exercise per week is linked to a longer life

Sexercising in a busy schedule can be difficult. However, new research suggests that getting just 15 minutes of physical activity over the course of a week is linked to a lower risk of dying prematurely compared to not exercising at all, as long as the movement gets your heart pumping. .

In the study, published on October 27 in the European journal of the heart, The researchers used a dataset to follow almost 72,000 people in the UK, aged 40 to 69 and free of cardiovascular disease or cancer at the time of enrolment, for around seven years. The researchers focused on a week at the start of the study in which everyone wore an activity tracker on their wrist. People who did no vigorous activity during that week had a 4% risk of dying during the study, but for people who had at least 10 minutes, that risk was cut in half. Among people who had 60 minutes or more, that risk fell to 1%. Overall, researchers estimated that 15 to 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week was linked to a reduced risk of death by 16 to 40 percent.

Not surprisingly, the more time people spend in vigorous physical activity, the greater the longevity benefit. But the “sweet spot” where people enjoyed it the most was around 60 minutes a week, says Matthew Ahmadi, a researcher at the University of Sydney in Australia and lead author of the study. (That’s not to say that exercising beyond an hour was necessarily worse, Ahmadi noted; because the study didn’t include many people who engaged in more vigorous physical activity, the maximum potential benefits more intense physical activity are unknown.)

Read more: Having trouble getting back into a workout routine? These 5 strategies could help you

Even if people don’t have time to hit the gym, the study shows that it’s possible to get health benefits from daily activities because short-duration exercises can add up, says Ahmadi. He suggests picking up your pace or working harder on things you already do, like walking, gardening, or even doing chores. “Any physical activity a person does provides an opportunity for vigorous physical activity, if they can do the activity at a faster pace or at a higher intensity for short periods of time,” he says. What counts as vigorous physical activity varies depending on your fitness level, he notes, but a good sign you’re doing it is having trouble carrying on a conversation.

A similar observational study, also published on October 27 in the European journal of the heart by another group of researchers, also suggests that the intensity of physical activity, not just the time spent moving, is important in reducing cardiovascular disease. In the study, which also looked at adults of the same age in the same UK dataset, the researchers followed around 88,000 people for around seven years.

After analyzing data from the week in which people used activity trackers, researchers found that engaging in physical activity with greater intensity was linked to a reduction in cardiovascular disease, even without increasing exercise duration. For example, people who walked briskly for seven minutes instead of slowly walked for 14 minutes during that week had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease later.

The studies were both observational, which means the research can’t prove that physical activity was the reason people who did it lived longer — or had less cardiovascular disease — than those who didn’t. . The physical activity week was also just a snapshot in time, and people’s habits may have changed after that. However, other studies have also shown that short bursts of movement can reduce the risk of death. A 2011 study published in the Lancet found that just 15 minutes of physical activity a day could reduce the risk of premature death. A 2014 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that just 5-10 minutes of running a day could reduce premature death from any cause.

The new research doesn’t mean the total time you spend moving isn’t important, says Paddy Dempsey, author of the cardiovascular disease study and a researcher at the University of Cambridge. People with the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease had more physical activity overall and had the most moderate to vigorous physical activity.

While any movement is valuable, Dempsey says, if you’re short on time, “adding a little intensity can provide unique health benefits, while potentially making workouts more time-efficient. “.

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