By Meredith Melnick
Only about a third of Americans currently meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines for physical health, which advise a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, plus additional strength-training.
Now here’s the good news for the rest of us: just 15 minutes of moderate exercise a day (or 92 minutes per week) was associated with a three-year increase in life expectancy and a 14% reduction in risk of death by any cause, compared with a sedentary lifestyle, according to a new study.
Each additional 15 minutes of daily exercise (up to 100 minutes a day) reduced the risk of death by an additional 4%, the study found, and people who got 30 minutes of activity a day added about four extra years to their life expectancy, compared with their sedentary peers.
The observational study involved more than 400,000 people in Taiwan, who were followed for an average of about eight years. Researchers gave participants a questionnaire asking about their medical history and lifestyle habits, including how much leisure-time physical activity they got. Based on the answers, researchers divided them into activity intensity groups: light (walking), moderate (brisk walking), vigorous (jogging) and very vigorous (running).
People were characterized as inactive if they got less than one hour of exercise per week. Compared with this group, those who got even small amounts of moderate activity daily lived longer.
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